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More housing planned for west side

Cyrus Homes, developer of the recently approved Church Street Village town homes, is seeking city approval for another housing development on Evanston's west side.

The new project would be located on the vacant Bishop-Freeman industrial site and the adjacent former Mayfair railroad corridor between Foster and Emerson Streets.

The developers will seek City Council approval tonight to have that property exempted from a two-month extension of the west side building moratorium that's on the council's agenda.

The moratorium was imposed on April 11 to give the city time to plan for anticipated redevelopment of the industrial area on the west side that runs along the former rail corridor. The moratorium was extended once before, in August, and is currently scheduled to expire tomorrow.

Plans developed for the area by city consultants are now under review by the Plan Commission and are expected to be up for City Council consideration in January.

Cyrus Homes Chairman Walter Kihm says his firm's proposal for the site will match the housing density proposed in the consultant's report, but that it will include a greater variety of housing types.

The plans, developed by FitzGerld Associates Architects, call for six- and nine-flat condominium apartment buildings to front on Foster Street, a mid-rise mixed use condominium building fronting on Emerson Street and townhouses in the center of the property.

The mid-rise building would be just east of the Jacob Blake senior citizen midrise building on Emerson.

The new proposal will still need to go through the city's planned development approval process which requires several public hearings and typically takes several months to reach a final vote by the City Council.

Cyrus President Ron Fleckman said units in the Church Street Village project have continued to sell at a steady pace, despite reports of a slowing housing market. He said another one or two units have been sold since groundbreaking for the project last month.

Mr. Fleckman said that although the new development may be "in the pipeline" before the city's recently approved inclusionary housing ordinance takes effect, it will include an affordable housing component on site.

"It's the right thing to do and important for the neighborhood," he said.

He estimated that units in the development would range in price from $200,000 to $500,000.

He said he sees a need for new housing for young professionals — "children of people who've lived on the west side all their lives" — who would like to move back to Evanston, but find nothing appropriate to their needs in the neighborhood now.

The developers also say they plan to bury utility lines that now cross the site diagonally along the old railbed as part of the landscaping plan for the site.

It was just about a year ago that an earlier proposal for the Bishop-Freeman site from a different developer ran into a chilly reception from city officials at a Site Plan and Appearance Review Committee meeting.

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