Plans to convert the shuttered King Home assisted living facility into an apartment hotel are scheduled for review by Evanston’s City Council Monday night.

The property at 1555 Oak Ave., formerly operated by Presbyterian Homes, has been vacant since 2017.

New owner Caleem Halim, who also owns the Halim Time and Glass Museum across the street at 1560 Oak Ave., had planned to reopen the 1950s-vintage building as a retirement community, but those plans were dropped as a result of the pandemic.

He’s now reportedly negotiating with Wyndham Hotels to operate the property.

The six-story building’s 67 units now all have bathrooms and kitchenettes, and Halim plans to add stoves to the kitchenettes to make them qualify as dwelling units.

The property also has two fully equipped restaurants, two large meeting or conference rooms, a library and other ancillary facilities.

The 1555 Oak property includes a large parking lot to the east, facing Maple Avenue.

The property’s R6 zoning permits apartment hotels as a special use but does not permit hotels.

The zoning code defines an apartment hotel as a hotel in which all accommodations are provided in dwelling units and in which at least 25% of the guest rooms are for occupancy by transient guests.

The code defines transient guests as ones who do not have a lease and who occupy the quarters on a daily or weekly basis.

The Land Use Commission voted 3-2 in favor of the proposal, with the dissenters questioning whether the property should instead be rezoned to permit use as a regular hotel for the project to move forward.

To the extent the property is occupied by transient guests they’ll have to pay the city’s 7.5% hotel tax.

Proposed conditions on the special use permit include that the unpaved parking lot to the east of the building be improved with permeable pavers within a year after approval of the special use permit.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. This is a great idea! Evanston needs the hotel tax, a clientele that spends money on Davis (aside from the Margarita residents who frequent Evanston First Liquors all day). The garden on this property is lovely and my condo unit’s home office looks over this. It would be great to have a renewed vibrancy in the neighborhood that Connections for The Homeless took from the Margarita. We need this!

  2. This is the kind of “added value” project that Evanston *should* be encouraging. It’s a lovely facility, and hopefully this will bring a greatly – needed boost to our 4th Ward neighborhood…

    As the writer above mentioned, we need this to counter – balance the negative economic and safety effects of The Margarita Inn…

    Gregory Morrow – Evanston 4th Ward resident

    1. Of course for that reason, they probably won’t approve it given the current climate in our local politics, but hopefully they will surprise us. Although I’m not sure how crazy Wyndham guests will be with what they run into on their way in and out of the hotel …

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