Developers eye two more city parking lots


A Northbrook-based firm is seeking to develop two city-owned parking lots in Evanston for residential use.

Orange Properties Investment Corporation has submitted unsolicited letters of intent indicating an interest in the 77-space Lot 32 at 825 Hinman Ave. and the 31-space Lot 25 at 1614 Maple Ave.

The city’s community development manager, Paul Zalmezak, says a broker representing Orange Properties has indicated they’re open to partnering with the city to include additional public parking in the developments.

Zalmezak told the Transportation and Parking Committee Wednesday night that at this point developers are looking for opportunities in Evanston. “Chicago is really clogged up with projects, and Evanston remains attractive, so where developers see vacant land, they’re asking whether they can develop it.”

Hinman Avenue

Jill Velan, the city’s parking manager, says parking around the roughly 25,000 square foot Hinman Avenue lot is extremely tight with 41 people on a wait list for spaces at 825 Hinman and even more waiting for openings at two city lots in the next block south — 60 on the wait list for 743 Hinman and 85 on the wait list for 711 Hinman.

Velan says private garages in the area typically rent for $100 a month or more, while the city currently charges $45 to $60 for a space. Some residents, she says, even arbitrage the difference — parking their own car in a city lot while renting out their garage space.

7331 N. Sheridan Road in Chicago (Google Maps photo)

Velan said city staff has been investigating the feasibility of creating a small-format parking garage, like one at 7331 N. Sheridan in Chicago, that could be used to consolidate parking in the Hinman area, relieving the waitlist backlog and creating the possiblity of residential development on some of the existing surface lots.

Maple Avenue

1614 Maple Ave. (Google Maps)

The Maple Avenue lot contains about 9,500 square feet of space. It formerly was leased to the post office to park postal delivery trucks but now is being used for restaurant valet parking and hourly visitors.

Transportation and Parking Committee members indicated that they were open to exploring alternative uses for the parking lots, but wanted more information about how parking needs in each area could be accommodated before moving forward.

The city is also exploring redevelopment of city-owned parking lots on Main Street and on South Boulevard for housing.

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