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New 831 Emerson plan gets city staff OK

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New plans for redeveloping the 831 Emerson St. site in Evanston received approval from the city’s Design and Project Review Committee Wednesday ahead of a community meeting and a Plan Commission hearing next week.

The committee made several recommendations for relatively minor changes to the proposal — including upgrading the materials to be used for a gate to shield the loading dock area from the street.

Representatives from the developer, CA/Focus Evanston JV, LLC, stressed that they were no longer planning a building targeted to students as tenants as they had been in a previous proposal rejected by the City Council last year.

The earlier plan also initially called for a building topping out at 14 stories, while the new proposal is only nine stories tall.

Architect Angela Spadoni of BKL Architecture LLC touches a model of the proposed high-rise.

The new plans call for a 242-unit residential building with 3,330 square feet of ground floor commercial space for a 7-Eleven convenience store and 175 parking spaces.

Rezoning would be required for the development. The site now is split between C1 Commercial and R5 General Residential zones. The developer is seeking C1a Commercial Mixed Use zoning as well as a special use permit for the store.

The site now is occupied by a 7-Eleven and a commercial laundry.

The proposal would also require approval of several site development allowances and will need a two-thirds majority vote by the City Council to be approved.

The plans call for a swimming pool and other amenities on the building’s second level.

The developer is proposing to make a $2.4 million contribution to the city’s inclusionary  housing program rather than provide affordable units on site.

A 1st and 4th Ward meeting to discuss the development is planned for 7 p.m Tuesday, March 7, at the Evanston Public Library and the Plan Commission hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8, at the Civic Center.

The project site sits between Northwestern’s Englehart Hall dormitory to the west and a Housing Authority of Cook County high-rise to the east.

More details about the project plans are available online.

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