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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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Evanston does not need any more high rises

    The vertical sprawl of high rises in Evanston is ruining this beautiful town. We are a suburb, not a generic knock off of Chicago. Also, after building so many high rise apartments and condos, low and behold, we have 1500 new children in our schools that we now need a referendum to raise our property taxes to support (although supposedly we build these buildings to keep property taxes low. How about another way to generate revenue that doesn’t ruin our city, cut down trees, create too much density and take away open space? How about attract green businesses, create more development west on Dempster, Church and on the west side where they are needing it?

    1. 1500 “new” really ?

      You wrote “..behold, we have 1500 new children in our schools…”


      This number has mentioned several times in articles about the schools and referendum.

      What is the source ?  Are these really ‘new’ i.e. additional or students who have replaced 1500 who  graduated/left the system ?

      If really additional, over what period of time and what changes to schools were made to accomidate them—i.e. were allocations between schools made, new teachers added, new money already provided. What was  the increase in teachers ? administration and non-teaching staff ? Pay/benefits increases for teachers vrs. administration and non-teaching staff ?

      It seems evey few years we hear enrollment has declined, then increase, then declined—which is it.


    2. Evanston is a city

      Evanston is not a suburb, it’s a city. A poorly managed one, but it is one.

    3. Evanston does need more higher density housing

      1) its hardly a high rise.  2) having affordable housing means having more housing, and housing that is not simply houses costing more than half a million each  3)  those new children for the most past came from people buying housing and therefore brought with them additional tax monies that went to the schools. 4) The budget shortfall for District 65 is due to unwillingness to deal with the costs of pensions that are unsustainable in the long run no matter how much taxes are raised.  Its not a problem you can tax yourself out of you can only put off the hard choices into the future and in the mean time the tax increase will cause real pain to many families.


    4. High rises are the green

      The statement above is incredibly hypocritical (perhaps unknowingly). High rises are, by far, the greenest forms of housing. Residents produce far less emissions per unit than a single family home. Especially when located near mass transit. If Evanston wanted to be green, it would encourage as much development as possible near the train stations.

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