Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to take a final vote on plans to build an 11-story office tower on what’s now a public parking lot in the 1700 block of Chicago Avenue downtown.

The latest revisions to the proposal have shrunk the building’s height from 13 to 11 stories — removing one floor of offices and one floor of parking.

It also reconfigures the parking in the building so that instead of having 28 spaces available full time for public parking, 74 spaces — the same number as in the exisitng city-owned surface parking lot on the site — would be available.

Under the new plan the developers would lease space in the city’s three downtown parking garages — including the Church Street garage across the street from the site — for tenants of the office building.

The developer is proposing to lease a total of 203 spaces in the city garages for five years. The proposal does not address what provision would be made for parking beyond the initial five years.

The latest plan also reconfigures the design of the rear of the building to improve visibility in the alley that will provide access to the public parking.

The new look of the rear of the building, with an open loading dock to improve alley sightlines.

The previous design with an enclosed loading dock.

Given the size of the site and setbacks required by city regulations, it appears that the city’s original expection for the project — replacing all the public surface parking, containing the parking for office workers within the building and providing office space for about 500 workers — all in an 11 story building — was a physical impossibility.

It would appear to require a parking deck 11 stories tall before you’d reached the first office floor.

Because of a petition signed by neighbors opposing the rezoning required for the development, the project will require yes votes from seven of the nine aldermen to be approved.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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