The developers of the proposed 14-story student housing high-rise at 831 Emerson St. told Evanston’s Plan Commission Wednesday night that the project would be less expensive for its tenants than comparable buildings constructed recently in the city.
A representative from development partner CA Ventures said rents at the new development would range from $1,000 to $1,500 per bed, compared to averages ranging from $1,321 to $1,680 at seven other buildngs included in a market analysis.
The 831 Emerson units would be considerably smaller than apartments in the other developments — with studios starting at just 350 square feet, compared to an average of 550 square feet for studios in the other buildings.
But, unlike in the other buildings, apartments at 831 Emerson are planned to be provided fully furnished.
Justin Pelej of development partner Focus Development said the “per bed” pricing comparison reflected the developers’ plan to offer tenants individual leases based on their occupany of a bedroom within an apartment unit — rather than a joint lease with roommates for an entire apartment in the building, which is planned to have one through three bedroom units in addition to studios.
The somewhat unconventional leasing approach, Pelej said, is used by CA Ventures at its other student housing developments around the country. He said it gives students more flexibility, and limits their financial risk, when one roommate may leave to study abroad for a term or take an internship in a distant city.
Peter Isaac, foreground, with other Plan Commission members.
Plan Commission member Peter Isaac asked Planning and Zoning Division Manager Damir Latinovic to clarify what the city’s Design and Project Review Committee meant when it recommended approval of the project — but with an unspecified reduction in height.
Latinovic said that the staff was concerned mainly with the tallest, 14-story segment of the building. That might be reduced to 13-stories, Latinovic said. But he said staff also recognized that there were economic factors contributing to the proposed size of the project, which might dictate making other sections taller than now proposed. But at the same time, he said, the staff recognized the desirability from a design standpoint of having the structure divided into three sections with differing heights — now 14, 12 and nine stories tall.
Neighbors — the largest contingent from the Sherman Gardens cooperative development across the street — continued to raise objections to the project, and after hearing three hours of testimony, the commission voted to continue the hearing at its next meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 13.