Hotel ‘top hat’ toned down


Evanston's Plan Commission tonight will review revised plans for an extended stay hotel at 1515 Chicago Ave. that include a toned-down version of the "top-hat" branding feature that annoyed some residents at earlier meetings on the project.

The earlier hotel design.

Tom Blunk, a principal of Quadrangle the developer of the hotel with the Janko Group, promised to have the building architects take another look at that design element after the complaints.

The new design reduces the amount of metal cladding used to set off the Hyatt House top-hat design feature and, Blunk says, reduces height, size and depth of the top-hat itself.

Blunk says the new design also uses more brick and less stone on the street facade and changes the window shapes there to better complement neighboring buildings and refines the design in several other ways.

The revised plans call for making the 16-foot alley just north of the building one-way eastbound and requiring delivery vehicles to exit through the north-south alley to Davis Street

Even complaints about possible loss of a song bird the nests in a tree at the south edge of the now vacant lot may be addressed.

Mark Muenzer, the city's community development director, says he's negotiating with the developer for a plan to preserve the tree — although it would require moving the planned underground stormwater detention vault and eliminating three to five parking spaces near the tree.

Blunk says the planned 114-room hotel is anticipated to generate $600,000 to $850,000 a year in hotel and property taxes and that the developers are not requesting any financial incentives from the city.

The Plan Commission's meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Civic Center. A packet with details of the hotel proposal is available online.

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