The latest would-be developer of the long-vacant former Kendall College block in Evanston is scheduled to discuss plans for the site at a Preservation Commission meeting tonight.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, said at Monday’s City Council meeting that the developer, North Shore Builders, had a “very productive” meeting with neighbors last week.

She added that she’s been told by the head of the company that, after inspecting the site, he believes that the 19-single family homes that the block is zoned for can be built without destroying any of the trees on the property.

Preserving trees on the Kendall property has been a long-running controversy that has occupied hours of time during the council’s citizen comment period over the past two years since a rezoning plan for the block was approved.

The city’s preservation planner, Carlos Ruiz, says tonight’s session will just introduce the new development team to the commission, and that a formal presentation of their plans is expected at next month’s commission meeting.

Ruiz says the North Shore Builders group has a contract to purchase the Kendall site from its current owner.

Top: The Kendall site looking northeast from the corner of Sherman Avenue and Colfax Street (Image from Google Street View).

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Ask purchasers to sign a waiver

    "Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, said at Monday's City Council meeting that the developer, North Shore Builders, had a 'very productive' meeting with neighbors last week." 

    And just who are these "neighbors" who pretend to speak for everyone?

    This plot of land – which used to have a college and dormitories-  was arbitrarily changed to R1 by the NIMBYs.   

    If single-family R1 homes are built on this plot, everyone who buys there must  realize that the adjacent property – the former Roycemore School – is owned by Northwestern University, and the university has every right to build on that property.  

    I am afraid that we will have 19 NIMBY families move into the 19 single family homes, and then these NIMBYs will fight against development of the former Roycemore lot. 

    Anyone who purchases land there should be required to sign a waiver, stating that they were fully aware that there is a large university across the street and that this large university may engage in university business, and that they (the purchaser) will not engage in any NIMBY activities to disrupt, obstruct, or annoy the university.

     This waiver should be required of anyone who purchases property near Northwestern.


  2. Poor people need not apply

    While we are on the subject of the Kendall property could one of our more liberal alderpersons and/or mayor  please explain to me why the city council did not insist that at least a portion of the housing go to low income families when they changed the zoning to R1.

    Didn't these same public servants require any new buildings going up in Evanston to have set aside housing for the poor or at least require the builder to make a contribution to a subsidized housing fund?

    I will hold my breath while I await an answer.

      1. I know you’re a good person

        Joy D., I agree that Evanston does not need more crime. But I can't say that I agree with you that all poor people create crime.   In my ward we have a lot of poor people who just want the best for their children and they have found Evanston to be the only real hope they have. 

        But since my ward and the other ward have the bulk of low income housing, why not let all of the citizens of our community share in the joy that we have? 

        I am sure that God wants us to share all of our blessings!

    1. Poor people are welcome

      Don't be silly….of course poor people are welcome at the former Kendall lot.

      After all, someone needs to come by and collect all of the yard waste, so it can be hauled down to the 9th ward.

  3. The old Roycemore site…

    Last I checked the former Roycemore building is a historal landmark and can not be torn down. 

    1. Roycemore

      From the Daily Northwestern, May 20 2012:

      "Because of Roycemore's status as a historic landmark, Nayler said NU officials have never considered demolishing the building.

      University officials have been leaning toward converting Roycemore into either office buildings or student housing. Sunshine said conversation has largely focused on upperclassman housing, which the University is currently lacking."

      Student housing would be best, because that would annoy Judy and the "Neighbors" the most.

      But the NIMBYs will whine, regardless:  "Traffic! Traffic! Traffic!"

    2. So is Foster-Walker !

      Last I checked so is the Foster-Walker complex.  Can it never be replaced ?

      This 'historical property' concept needs to be buried.  Only REALLY historic [some world changing event happened there], one of a kind architecture that an independent expert [non-Chicagoland] would agree via a 'blnd' review [not knowing the city, history, etc.] by photos, film, would certify as 'historic' by all standard criteria.

      In a town the size of Evanston there would probably be one or two of these.

      1. Historical nonsense

        Yes, everything is "historic" in Evanston.  

        It's a word that NIMBYs use to prevent any change.  We can't tear down any old 'historic' buildings, and we can't put up any new buildings because they would detract from the 'historic' nature of the neighborhood.

        It is also part of the NIMBY ideology.  Glorifying "historic" buildings ( which usually have no historic significance, and could just be 40 years old) makes it easier for NIMBYs to justify their specialness as "long time residents"  or, in the case of a certain NIMBY aldermen, "five generations of living in Evanston."

        Historic neighborhoods, like the historic Foster-Walker neighborhood, have also been created to justify restrictive zoning. After all, we can't have apartments, condos, or NU dorms in our  "historic district"…only R1 single family houses in a faux Colonial Williamsburg style are permitted in the "historic district."

  4. Don’t Worry

    The NIMBY neighbors will never let anything go on the Kendall lot.  If a developer promised to duplicate the 'best' houses' on Orrington, on the lot, the neighbors would protest and the Council would support them.

  5. Northwestern blew it

    Northwestern should've bought the old Kendall block when it was first available. It's adjacent to NU property and was originally zoned for nonprofits. Neighbors who tolerated Kendall could've tolerated NU. Still can't figure out why that didn't happen.

  6. Save Kendall Park

    Lets do this for the people! I know 12 million dollars is hard to turn down.

    1. Appears Kendall work is close

      A 5-foot-tall wire fence was put up Monday.  Also around trees.  That morning I saw some men inside the area, and it looked like digging sometime.  I did not see a 'gate' for workers so we may not be there  yet.

      Neighbors said they were sent a letter about the site but seemed to leave questions in their mind about when and what was going to be done.  They thought the sign with a drawing of units on the NW part of the site might be the plans but were not sure if it was a current or old drawing—there have been so many signs over the years they said they had not paid attention to whether this was a new sign and if proposed or actual plan.

  7. Homes with snob appeal

    Just when I thought the uptight neighborhood surrounding the Kendall property might come down to earth and relate to real people level, we get another developer to increase snob appeal!  

    Oh my God, can we make this neighborhood anymore white collar than it already is.  How ridiculous to have 3,000 square foot homes!  Neighbors be prepared for construction for the next 5 -10 years.  Not that many million dollar homes sell quickly.  How long will it take before 19 multi millionaires will buy these new homes. 

    This is snobbery at its height!  Is this just to generate the tax base for the city of Evanston?  I think so.

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