An aerial view of the neighborhood where the new development would take place.

Developers Thursday evening discussed plans for a land swap that would see a major addition constructed to The Link apartments on Emerson Street in Evanston and the addition of a parking garage at the Sherman Gardens co-op.

The proposal from Focus, the developer formerly known as Focus Development, and CA Ventures would have the co-op sell its open parking lot north of the existing Link building to the developers.

A rendering looking east — showing the existing Link building on the right, and the planned addition to the north, behind it.

It would become the site for Link 2.0 a nine-story building with 228 apartments.

In return, the developers would acquire the Byline Bank drive-thru and the demolished Las Palmas restaurant site just west of Sherman Gardens and construct a 96-space, two-story parking garage there for co-op residents.

That would compare to the existing 83 parking stalls in the co-op’s existing parking lot.

An overhead view of how the parking garage would relate to the existing coop buildings.

Developers told residents at the online meeting that the existing 241-unit Link building is 98% occupied. It has 166 parking stalls, of which only 60 are currently leased.

The planned new building would would add 66 additional parking stalls for a total of 0.49 stalls per unit in the overall Link project.

Some of the surplus parking at The Link may end up being leased to the Housing Authority of Cook County for use by residents of its planned new high rise, The Emerson, at 1900 Sherman Ave., but Focus Development’s Tim Anderson said no agreement has been reached about that yet.

Allen Feuerstein.

Allen Feuerstein, president of the co-op, said the parking garage would be a critical improvement for the development, which was constructed in the years immediately after World War II.

Residents, he said, would no longer have to cross busy Emerson Street and walk down an alley to get to their cars.

Developers said unit mix at The Link 2.0 would include 27% studios, 27% one bedrooms, 23% two-bedrooms, and 23% three-bedrooms.

A diagram showing the unit mix in the existing and proposed Link buildings.

The planned market-rate rentals would be $1,700 to $1,800 for studios, $2,300 to $2,400 for one-bedrooms, about $3,200 for two bedrooms and $4,100 to $4,200 for three-bedroom units.

Ten percent of the units would be included in the city’s inclusionary housing program and be rented to households earning no more than 60% of area median income. For those units monthly rents would be about $979 for studios, $1,050 for one-bedrooms, $1,258 for two bedrooms and $1,454 for three-bedroom units.

A rendering showing a few of The Link development looking west from the alley on the east edge of the site.

Sarah Vanderwicken asked whether the Sherman Gardens garage would have a green roof, but Justin Pelej of Focus Development said that wasn’t part of the plan because of the added cost and safety issues it would create.

Keith Johnson, who’s a Sherman Gardens trustee, said he believes the plan is a definite advantage for the city because of all the additional tax revenue the addition to The Link would generate.

Views of the proposed garage structure for Sherman Gardens.

Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) said she would like to see the planned garage for Sherman Gardens “to feel a little less like a warehouse.”

Murals proposed for the structure “are nice,” Kelly said, “But I don’t think that does it.”

So far the developers have only submitted a zoning analysis for the project to the city, Community Development Director Johanna Nyden said.

Once they’ve submitted a more detailed planned development proposal, she added, the formal public review of the project can get underway.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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