A new condo development planned for 1515 Chicago Ave. in Evanston is substantially scaled down from the 18-story Optima Promenade project aldermen rejected last summer.

1515 Chicago Ave.

1515 Chicago Ave., with the 500 Davis St. office building in the background.

Preliminary drawings submitted to city officials by Goss/Pasma architects of Evanston show a 12-story building that would replace only the one-story Heil & Heil building at mid-block.

The Optima project would have also torn down the former Active Endeavors shop on the corner of Chicago and Davis Street and the vintage two-story shops at 518-526 Davis.

518-526 Davis St.

518-526 Davis St.

The new plans call for a total of 106 condos — 36 two-bedroom and 70 one-bedroom units.

The 134-foot-tall building would have retail space on the Chicago Avenue frontage with two floors of offices above that.

Behind the retail and office space the base of the building would be formed by four parking levels, with a fifth level of parking underground for a total of 168 parking spaces.

The plan locates the condo units on the upper floors toward the Chicago Avenue side of the parcel, with a wide roof deck over the parking garage on the alley side.

Community Development Director James Wolinski said architect Doug Pasma told him the developers would be willing to consider a covenant that would block redevelopment of the buildings facing Davis Street for perhaps as long as 20 years as part of the approval of the new building.

Alderman voted to exempt the 1515 Chicago Ave. site from the current downtown building moratorium when they adopted the moratorium last month.

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The Optima Promenade plan rejected last year would have built 176 condos on the site as well as retail and office space.

Alderman Cheryl Wollin, whose 1st Ward includes the site, recently said she doesn’t want to see any building on the site that would be taller than others on the block.

The 10-story office building at 500 Davis St. is currently the tallest on the block. It’s exact height wasn’t immediately available, but given the larger floor-to-ceiling heights of office buildings compared to residential properties, it is believed to be roughly equivalent to the 134 feet of the new proposal.

Much of the opposition to the Optima proposal came from residents of older, mostly eight-story condominium and co-op buildings on the block who said the tower would have cut off views from their units, cast them into shadow and created traffic congestion in the alley.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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