The owners of The Merion, the senior living community at 1611 Chicago Ave. in Evanston are planning a new high-rise development just to the north of their building.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, says Jeff Michael of Horizon Realty Group had originally contemplated a 34 story building to replaces a row of storefronts between 1621 and 1631 Chicago Avenue.

He’s now scaled the plans back to 25 stories, Fiske says, “but I don’t support it at that height.”

The property is zoned D4. The city’s zoning code for the downtown area sets a base height limit for residential buildings of 105 feet in the D4 zone. With parking and planned development allowances could limit could increase to 185 feet. A greater height than that would require approval by a two-thirds vote of the City Council.

Fiske suggested the height Michael is proposing might be appropriate on the west side of Chicago Avenue, in the D3 downtown core district, but not on the east side, where it’s closer to the lakefront.

There’s already a 24 story building, the Park Evanston, on the west side of Chicago Avenue in that block.

The proposed development would have 215 apartments, 149 parking spaces and 3,691 square feet of ground floor commercial space. 

A community meeting to discuss the proposed new development is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 24, at The Merion.

A call to Michael this morning seeking more information about the project wasn’t immediately returned.

Two other downtown high-rise projects — from Albion Residential at 1450 Sherman Ave. and from Vermilion Development at 601 Davis St. — are currently under review by the city.

Plans have been announced for a high-rise Downtown Performing Arts Center in the 1700 block of Sherman Avenue that would include a new home for Northlight Theatre as well as a hotel and apartments.

And a neighborhood meeting is on tap for this Thursday to announce plans from the Trammell Crow Company for a 17-story building at 1727 Oak Ave.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Are these more rental units?
    Are these more rental units? It would be nice to live in a high rise condo with a nice view of the lake you know no one would block. Why should renters get the best views?

      1. Nothing against renters

        I have nothing against renters. But I don’t get why we are building so many fancy rentals in Evanston and not condos. And why should renters get the best views rather than condo owners. In fact, this building may block some views for condo owners, decreasing the value of their property.  I don’t see why we need this tall building in this spot. Why not put it further from the lake?

        1. If there was a market …

          Hi Charlie,

          If there was a strong market for new condo developments, we’d be seeing developers proposing condo buildings.

          When you buy a property you are not buying the right to control the view — unless you also bought the property across the street.

          Putting such a tall building further from the lake might be a great idea, but it would require zoning changes that would undoubtedly bring out a lot of opposition. And, the farther you get from the train lines and downtown shops, the less appealing the high-rise life is to potential occupants of the buildings.

          — Bill

    1. Senior Units
      Senior Living. Aging baby boomers have to live somewhere. People living longer, need more help. Let them move out of their Evanston house so young families like mine can stay in Evanston and stop moving to Willamette!

      1. moving on …….

        There are a lot of factors that are pushing people to Wilmette……the way the city is managed, for one.   Safety issues…less crime….free parking at shops……great schools……I could  go on and on.  AND…it hasn’t lost its charm.     It’s a wonderful place to live, go to school, and shop.

  2. What is this….4..5..6th
    What is this….4..5..6th high rise that’s planned?

    Evanston will very soon lose its charm.

  3. I smell a bubble

    Here’s hoping all these massive buildings are errected and leased-up before the next recession comes along…

  4. Yeah, because we just don’t

    Yeah, because we just don’t have enough residential high rises in Evanston.  So, City Council, you better not come at us with more tax raises from all the property tax income you’re getting from the residents in all the high-rises!! 

    1. we could use more highrises.

      Yeah?  You think your tax bill is bad now?  Just imagine having to make up the millions of extra dollars you would have had to pay if those highrises didn’t exist and weren’t helping share the load.   

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