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Downtown condo buyers profiled

Most people who've bought new condos in downtown Evanston in the past few years already lived on the North Shore, and they're largely a mix of young professionals and empty-nesters.

Those are among the findings in a new city survey of residents of five large downtown condo buildings completed between 2002 and 2005.

Most people who've bought new condos in downtown Evanston in the past few years already lived on the North Shore, and they're largely a mix of young professionals and empty-nesters.

Those are among the findings in a new city survey of residents of five large downtown condo buildings completed between 2002 and 2005.

Preliminary results of the study were released at a Downtown Plan Committee meeting today.

The survey drew a 40 percent response rate from residents of the five buildings — Optima Horizon at 800 Elgin Road, Optima Towers at 1580 Sherman Ave., Optima Views at 1720 Maple Ave., Church Street Station at 1640 Maple Ave. and the Roszak/ADC building at 1572 Maple Ave.

Among the adults in the new condo households, 43 percent are between 22 and 39 years old, and another 39 percent are 55 or over. Only 3 percent are 18 to 21 years old, and just under 15 percent are in the 40 to 54 age bracket.

About 31 percent of the survey respondents said they moved from another home in Evanston, 20 percent from another North Shore suburb, 14 percent from the City of Chicago, 14 percent from elsewhere in Illinois and 16 percent from another state. Five percent didn't respond to that question.

Only about one condo household in ten included any children.

The study suggests Evanston's downtown population grew by nearly 28 percent as the result of the completion of those five buildings.

The 2000 U.S. Census showed roughly 4,300 people in the blocks city officials now consider to constitute the downtown area.

Projecting from the 40 percent response rate to the city survey, it appears those five buildings house nearly 1,200 total residents on what had been vacant properties in 2000.

The racial distribution of the new residents is roughly equivalent to those living downtown in 2000, although there are fewer black residents in the new buildings.

The 2000 census reported 76.4 percent of downtown residents were white, 14.5 percent were Asian and 4.4 percent were black, with the rest either of other racial groups or mixed racial backgrounds.

Among respondents to the new survey, 78.1 percent identified themselves as white, 14.4 percent as Asian and 1.1 percent as black.

The average household size among the new condo dwellers is about 1.77 persons per household, smaller than the 2.27-person average household size for Evanston as a whole reported by the 2000 Census.

Among those who reported paid employment, about one-third said they work in Evanston, another third work in Chicago and the rest work in another suburb.

Among those who work in Evanston, about a third worked from home and another third work elsewhere in downtown Evanston.

Driving was the most common means of getting to work listed by survey respondents, who were free to specify more than one choice. Of all the responses, 47 percent specified driving, 34 percent said they take mass transit, 17 percent said they walk to work and just 2 percent said they bike to work.
Only three percent of households surveyed don't own a car, 60 percent said they have one car for the household, 30 percent have two and 2 percent have three or more cars.

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