A planned mixed use development at 1571 Maple Ave. will gain an extra story, but be set back more from an adjoining high rise, as a result of a vote by a city staff committee this week.

During a lengthy session of the Site Plan and Appearance Review Committee on Wednesday, neighbors who live in the adjacent tower at 1570 Elmwood Ave. complained that the new building would be too close to north-facing units in their building.

The developers of the proposed new building had proposed a 12-foot setback for their tower, but agreed to increase that to 25 feet, in return for increasing the height of the building from 11 to 12 stories.

Community Development Director Mark Muenzer says that, with that revision, the committee voted to recommend the project for approval by the Plan Commission, which is expected to review the proposal at its next meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 8, subject to staff review of revised drawings for the windows that would face the existing building.

The neighbors had also objected the the fenestration on that wall — arguing there were so few windows it would feel like they were facing a blank wall.

The existing condo building, built as the Winthrop Club and more recently referred to as One Evanston, is built to the lot line at its parking garage base, but the apartment floors above are set back 25 feet from the lot line — which matches the revised setback planned for the new building.

A rendering looking east from Maple Avenue, showing the 13 parking spaces at the site.

An unusal feature of the new planned development is that, while it will have 101 residential units, it plans to provide only 13 parking spaces on the site — and those would be available for shoppers at nearby retail businesses during the day.

In addition, the developers plan to lease 101 parking spaces in the city’s underutilized Maple Avenue parking garage two blocks to the north. At current monthly rates, that could generate more than $100,000 a year in additional parking revenue to the city.

The developers are also asking for development allowances to increase the permitted number of dwelling units units from 73 to 101 and increasing the floor area ratio from 4.5 to 5.02.

And because of the irregular shape of the site, the developer is also asking to reduce the setback of the building’s upper floors from the lot lines.

Note: The renderings shown here, and presented at the SPARC meeting, show the building as originally proposed — and don’t reflect the changes recommended by the committee.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. 1571 Maple Proposed development has many problems

    At the community meeting held recently at the Evanston Civic Center organized by Don Wilson, Alderman of the Fourth District, a presentation for a proposed high-rise development on Davis Street between Maple Street and Elmwood Avenue was made by Centrum Partners, LLC.

                    The proposed housing project, if approved, will consist of more than 100 mostly small rental apartments wedged into an L-shaped property with almost no accommodations for parking, frontage space, or traffic mitigation. Current plan is for parking to be offered two and a half blocks away from the proposed tower at the public parking lot near the Cine Arts movie theaters.

    Variances on height, set-back, and boundary lines have all been requested by the Centrum Partners developers. If approved one high-rise building will abut another with a variance of 12 feet from the property line.

                    Homeowners who live next door or nearby  in the neighborhood of this proposed project expressed concern about loss of privacy, crowding, noise, fear that parking would be further crowded, and took issue with the idea that proposed retail would add to the community on Davis Street.   Currently, a large percentage of existing storefronts on Davis Street and Maple Street are unoccupied.  Centrum’s plan to narrow Elmwood Ave itself would further restrict narrow one-way traffic neighbors said.

                    Those  attending the alderman’s meeting said they had talked personally with representatives at Evanston City Hall and had been told–before purchasing  their units– that an approved Evanston Downtown Plan called for the height of any new building next door to not exceed the height of their own parking lot, about four stories.

                    Finally, residents expressed great concern that the value of their investments would diminish dramatically if their floor to ceiling views were obstructed by a multi-story brick tower just 12 feet away from their property line. This would likely result in lower tax revenues for the City of Evanston. The residents at 1570 Elmwood Avenue have engaged an attorney to represent their interests.

  2. 1571 Maple Proposed Development

    I do not understand how setting back the proposed apartment building a few feet justifies the developers adding even more density by making their tower taller.  This is hardly a compromise.  The whole idea of the project is flawed and brings nothing to the neighborhood but congestion and traffic.  13 parking spaces for 101 apartments?  Who are the lucky parkers?  Everybody else will be shleping groceries and children from a public parking garage blocks away.  Good luck in finding parking near Bennisons Bakery.

    Does Evanston really need another high rise so close to an existing one?  No other tall buildings in the downtown area have this kind of proximity.  I have lived in Evanston for 40 years and have seen many changes.  But there are other high rise rental properties under construction, and to me this new project is simply overbuilding.

    The property should be developed for something that is actually desirable for the neighborhood.  The city should take a step back and look at how this kind of stuffing an elephantine monstrosity into a tiny space will effect the neighborhood.

    1. More parking unneeded in a walkable area

      The market supports more density and Downtown Evanston needs more residents to support a vibrant mixed use, transit oriented development. We don't need any additional parking and driving in a walkable area. You argue for something that is  "desirable for the neighborhood", but  it sounds like you are simply looking for something that's desirable to your own interests. 

      1. The interests of the

        The interests of the community are my interests as well.  You say that we don't need more driving in a walkable area.  That is true for those of us who can walk and carry packages long distances.  I have not noticed that the available public transportation is diminishing the amount of auto traffic on downtown streets. Traffic is as bad as it has ever been. 11 or even 13 parking spots is not realisitic for a more than 100 unit apartment complex. 

        1. I’m sorry, but traffic is not

          I'm sorry, but traffic is not bad in Downtown Evanston.  Bad as it has ever been?  Really?

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