Evanston aldermen Monday are scheduled to debate a proposed 12-story apartment project at 1571 Maple Ave. downtown that tests theories about how much parking transit-oriented development needs and how far people are willing to walk to park.
The 101-unit project, unanimously approved by the city’s Plan Commission in January, provides only a handful of on-site parking spaces, and most of those will be used for public parking for shoppers at nearby businesses during the day.
But the city will require the developer to sign a long-term lease for 101 parking spaces at the city’ Maple Avenue garage two blocks away.
And, in an update to the plan since the commission’s approval, the city also will require the developer to require prospective tenants to disclose their car ownership, and either lease additional spaces at the garage or stop leasing apartments to tenants with cars if the count of tenant cars exceeds the number of spaces leased.
The parking lease — at the current rate of $85 per month per space — will generate over $100,000 in annual revenue to the city and help fill up the 1,400 space garage, which city officials say now has an average daily occupancy rate of just 50 percent.
A map showing the distance between the development site and the garage.
The developers contend that with its mix of mostly small apartment units, and its location just a block from downtown’s two mass transit stations, the building will attract residents who either work in downtown Evanston or commute to work in downtown Chicago by train, and that those residents either won’t have cars or will be willing to park them in the garage and make the quarter-mile hike to retrieve them for occasional use.
But residents of nearby blocks who park their cars on the street have voiced fears that the new building’s tenants will increase competition for those on-street spaces — even though the new building’s residents won’t qualify for the resident parking stickers required to park on most of those blocks.
Other complaints about the project have come from residents of the neighboring One Evanston condo development — who say the new building will block views from their units. But the developers say the design they’ve produced — which orients the building on a north-south axis — minimizes its impact on One Evanston.