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King seeks condo tower delay

Developer Robert King will ask the Evanston City Council Monday for a one-year extension of time to begin construction of the 18-story Carroll Place condo tower the city approved last summer for a site at 1881 Oak Ave.

In a letter to the council, Mr. King’s attorney, David Reifman, said that in return for the extension the developer is willing to immediately make the required $200,000 contribution to the city for affordable housing and other purposes, remove the foundation left on the site by an earlier, never-completed project and grade and seed the site.

Mr. Reifman’s letter doesn’t specify a reason for seeking the delay, but Mr. King has previously indicated that the slow housing market makes a postponement desirable.

Mr. King’s firm, Carroll Properties, has yet to open a sales office for the project. Financing terms for most condo developments require that a substantial number of units be pre-sold before most construction work begins.

Some nearby residents, including people living in the 28-story Optima Views project a block to the south, have unsuccessfully sought to block the Carroll Place development, claiming they were not given sufficient notice of the development plans.

In an apparent effort to head off attempts by the disgruntled neighbors to use the request for the delay to persuade aldermen to kill the project, Mr. Reifman says that if the requested extension is denied, the developer is "ready, willing and able" to satisy the requirements of the existing ordinance, which would require issuance of building permits for the project by July 12.

The Carroll Place plans call for construction of 165 dwelling units with 247 enclosed on-site parking spaces and about 1,370 square feet of commercial space.

According to county records Mr. King acquired the 1881 Oak Ave. site in October 2005 for $1.75 million.

The city’s Planning and Development Department staff is recommending the the council approve the requested extension.

Mr. King is also seeking an amendment to plans for his proposed 14-story retail and rental apartment development next door at 1890 Maple Ave., which is up for approval by the council’s Planning and Development Committee on Monday.

He’s asking to have his proposed contribution for traffic signal improvments on Emerson Street cut from $150,000 to $50,000 and to be given two years, rather than the standard one year, to begin construction on that project.

The city staff is recommending that both of those requests be denied, but is recommending approval of the overall project, which has also received a 6-0 endorsement from the Plan Commission.

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