Plans for a 13-story office building on the Chicago Avenue site downtown that now is used as a surface parking lot are scheduled for review by Evanston’s Design and Project Review Committee next Wednesday, July 11.

Ahead of that session, Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, has called a special ward meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, July 9, “so all persons interested in this project can drop by with questions or comments.” Fiske’s session is scheduled for Room 2402 at the Civic Center.

The city has agreed to sell the parking lot property to the office building developers for $4 million, subject to reaching agreement on zoning changes and site development allowances required for the project.

The developers say the building, on lots at 1714 and 1720 Chicago Avenue, would generate annual property tax revenue of $1.4 million.

They also say it would provide space for 544 new office workers jobs who, they estimate, would add spending of over $3 million per year to the local economy.

The building would include four floors of parking with a total of 120 spaces.

A parking study conducted by a consultant for the developer indicates 23 of those spaces would be available to the public during the day with the other 97 reserved for office building tenants.

After 5 p.m. weekdays and all day on weekends 80 of the spaces would be available to the the public with the other 40 reserved for building tenants.

The city’s zoning code would require 208 parking spaces for the office building and under terms of the agreement to purchase the land, the developer is also expected to provide replacement public parking for the 74 spaces in the existing surface lot.

A parking study, conducted on Wednesday, March 14, indicated that daytime usage of the existing surface parking lot and the nearby library parking garage peaked at no more than 52 percent of their combined 107 vehicle capacity.

So the study concludes that there is sufficient capacity to meet daytime public parking needs in the immediate area.

The developers also propose leasing 111 additional parking spaces in the Church Street and Sherman Avenue or Maple Avenue city garages to meet the remaining need for office tenant parking.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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