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Plans for an extended stay hotel at 1515 Chicago Ave. are heading to the Evanston Plan Commission after a favorable vote Wednesday by a city staff panel.

The vote came despite a variety of objections to the plan raised by some neighbors.

Mike Taft, president of the Evanstonian cooperative at 1508 Hinman Ave., said he was concerned about what the developers planned to do with a foundation wall left over from the demolished Heil & Heil building on the site.

Taft, a safety director for a construction firm, said he feared that removing the wall could cause damage to the adjacent Chaumont building.

Tom Blunk.

Developer Tom Blunk said that the team working on the new project hasn’t determined yet whether the wall will have to be removed.

And Walter Hallen, the chair of the city’s Site Plan and Appearance Review Committee, said the developer should survey surrounding properties before construction starts “so you can demonstrate that your work hasn’t done anything” to them.

A rendering of the proposed eight-story hotel.

Taft and other residents also voiced fears about how traffic in the alleys adjoining the property would be handled — especially after winter snow storms.

Jeff Murphy, manager of inspection services for the city, told Blunk, “Your customers are going to have to be able to pull into spots in the alley, and you’ll want to keep the alley clear of snow. Where’s that snow going to get pushed to?”

Blunk said of the buildings on the block, “Now everybody takes care of their own thing,” and he’d noticed a big pile of snow had been pushed out the south end of the alley onto the edge of Raymond Park.

“Maybe our project can help spur some collective effort” about the snow, Blunk suggested.

Mark Muenzer.

Community Development Director Mark Muenzer said other planned development agreements have dealt with snow removal in alleys and that he could work to put such language into the agreement for this project.

On a motion from Muenzer, the committee voted to approve sending the project to the Plan Commission, conditioned on staff approval of the project site plans, building elevation drawings and building material specifications.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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5 Comments

  1. Architecture

    Why can't any of the developers who want to build buildings in Eanston use architects with some talent?  Evanston used to be known in part for it wonderful buildings.  Now the city accepts anything that is put before it. 

    The proposed hotel is a cheap looking building.

    1. New building doesn’t fit in

      Take a good, long look at the photo above.  It clearly doesn't fit in, and looks like someone dropped it down in there.   It ruins the entire look of that block.  UGH!

      1. It looks fine to me

        It's not a photo, it's a rendering.  There was a real actual photo posted on this site a week or two ago and it clearly showed 3 buildings directly behind this proposed building.  This proposed building looks better than any of the neighboring buildings in that photo, by far, period.

        You have a personal opinion, fine.  But it is nothing more than opinion and has no value as to the merits of this project. My opinion, of no greater value than yours, is it looks just fine on that block, better than what was there before, and carries a lot of benefits to that stretch of Chicago ave., and Evanston overall.

        1. The other building was the

          The other building was the same height, and certainly fit in better than the proposed tall one.  Evanston used to have a quaint look, like Winnekta, Hubbard Woods, Wilmette, etc. The same goes with those monstrosity homes that are plopped down in the middle of older neighborhoods…..and that goes for Skokie, Glenview, etc…..not just Evanston.  

          1. Quaint?

            I don't mean to be snarky, but Evanston didn't have a "quaint" look, it had a decrepit, dilapidated look, the look of decades long and slow decline.  Empty storefronts, no people on the streets, crumbling buildings, nothing "quaint" about it.

            Unless what qualifies for quaint was the crummy old Woolworths building on Davis, the many empty Church Street storefronts, remember that single story shack at the corner of Church and Maple, or how about the crumbling, literally falling down parking garage with that concrete bunker on one side and the beautiful Osco next door?

            It's too bad the brick and mortar reality doesn't live up to the romanticized nostalgia.

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