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Northlight Theatre, Farpoint Development and McLaurin Development today announced they are withdrawing plans for a proposed 37-story development in the 1700 block of Sherman Avenue in Evanston.

In a joint statement, the parties said that they now feel that to move forward, “given that the site has become a source of contention, would serve to perpetuate a divisive issue for city leaders and residents in a time of continuing debate about the vision and future of downtown Evanston.”

They said the vast majority of residents have expressed “great enthusiasm for the theater’s return to Evanston.”

The objective of Northlight’s development partners, they added, was to create a vibrant building for downtown Evanston that also allowed for a performing arts center without leaning on the city for financial support.

Northlight Executive Director Tim Evans said,  “It continues to be Northlight’s goal to be an integral part of the Evanston community. That includes listening to the concerns and issues raised by residents, businesses and aldermen. Our intent was, and remains, to create a cultural, social and economic hub in downtown Evanston, one that city leaders, residents and local organizations have sought for many years.”

He said such a center would “bring countless patrons to downtown Evanston to dine and shop, and generate new spending, revenue and jobs for the city and area businesses as well as tax relief for its residents.”

Evans said Northight “will now seek other viable locations in Evanston and, perhaps, elsewhere.”

“We now look forward to engaging with the community in constructive conversation about how our relocation can improve the quality of life in Evanston — culturally and economically.”

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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8 Comments

  1. northlight tower
    Sorry, but I’m glad this thing did not move forward. Too big. Too disruptive to downtown businesses. Just too radical of a change in Evanston. I’m all for moving forward, but this was just a behemoth.

    1. Evanston is not Mayberry

      Evanston is not Mayberry. Get over it and stop choking development. 

    2. I dunno, our downtown could
      I dunno, our downtown could use some disruption and development to be honest. The early 2000s were a good step forward, but we’ve still got one foot in old Evanston, which is decaying rapidly.

    3. Big things in small packages
      I would tend to agree with you, although I don’t see how added population would disrupt businesses. It would be quite the opposite. Businesses should advocate for increased population.

      I really like the aesthetics of the ground level Northlight Theater building concept, but 37 stories seems a bit tall for our downtown area. Hopefully there can be some movement towards an alternate solution to add to the energy of the city center.

      1. Affordable Housing for an aging & fleeing lower middle class?
        Not an uncommon urban dilemma…

        MORE 1BR CONDOS!!!
        LESS LANDLORDS & ALDERMEN!!!

        Homeowner Equity, high-rise or not, is everything that a city balance sheet ever wanted to be.

  2. Civilization Itself Saved!

    I would have very much enjoyed acclaimed live theatre in downtown Evanston. But the supporters of the bookstore and framing store who have implied civilization  itself would be lost should they be forced to sell should rest assured, as no one will ever again want to purchase those properties.

  3. This is great news. Hopefully
    This is great news. Hopefully, we will be able to preserve the historic buildings this outrageously large development would have destroyed. This is a victory for Evanstonians, small businesses, and for preservationists.

    1. not a real business
      That bookstore isn’t a small business, it’s a charity. They don’t have to provide what every other single business that is open to the public is mandated to provide. A simple washroom. A building that is incapable of providing the most fundamental and basic facilities isn’t one that needs to be preserved.

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