Council to review Emerson high rise


Evanston's City Council will be back to full strength tonight when it is expected to vote on introduction of a 12-story planned development at 831 Emerson St.

Newly appointed 7th Ward alderman Eleanor Revelle is scheduled to be sworn in at the start of the City Council meeting.

Eleanor Revelle.

But that will be after a Planning and Development Committee meeting at which aldermen will decide whether to advance the development project to the full City Council.

At the committee's last meeting, on Feb. 8, Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, was joined by Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, in asking that introduction be held for two weeks, saying that would give the developer a chance to have yet another meeting with residents of the seven-story Sherman Gardens co-op across the street.

The neighbors have objected to the height of the proposed building and to the developer's plan to tailor the project to attract college students as tenants.

The project has been revised since its original introduction to cut its height from 14 to 12 stories, and city staff is asking the council to double the developer's planned contribution to the city's affordable housing fund from $500,000 to $1 million and provide a quarter million dollars for modernization of traffic signals along Emerson plus unspecified amounts for streetscape and CTA underpass improvements and public art.

The developers — Focus Development and CA Ventures — claim that public benefits they've already agreed to add up to more than $2 million — not including the added $1 million in annual property tax revenue the 260-unit project is expected to generate.

To be approved, the project will have to win support of six of the nine the aldermen.

Assuming no further delays tonight, final approval of the project could come at the council's March 14 meeting.

More coverage of the 831 Emerson project

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