Plans for a new high-rise building in the 600 block of Davis street call for creating one of the tallest structures in Evanston.

The developer’s proposal to the city indicates that at a total of 280 feet, including the mechanical penthouse, the new mixed-use retail and rental apartment building would be slightly shorter than the Chase Bank tower at 1603 Orrington and the Sherman Plaza condo development.

Other sources list the Chase Bank tower as 280 feet tall and the Sherman Plaza building as 276 feet tall, but those measurements typically exclude the mechanical penthouse.

Excluding its mechanical penthouse, the proposed new building is listed as being 263 feet tall.

A rendering of an aerial view of the 600 Davis block with the new building.

The new project, first reported by Evanston Now on Tuesday, is planned to have 217 apartment units and 176 parking spaces.

It site includes the landmark University Building on the northwest corner of Davis Street and Chicago Avenue, which would be preserved and renovated, plus a vacant lot just to the west and the Chase Bank drive-thru that fills the rest of the space to the mid-block alley.

The ground floor of the the new structure would include two retail storefronts as well as a reconfrigured drive-thru for the bank that would see cars enter from Davis, but exit into the alley.

As a planned development that is seeking several variations from existing zoning, the project will have to go through a review process by the city’s Plan Commission and City Council. Those meetings have not yet been scheduled.

Related story

27-story tower proposed for Davis (1/5/16)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Reality or another proposed building with no future ?

    Like many I've lost track of how many things proposed for downtown construction.

    We were told there would be a wonderful new complex for the Davis/Church Sherman/Orrington block but nothing ever came of it.

    The vacant lot to the east of the Chase Drive Through bank was created [businesses torn down] for some form of development but after those businesses vacated and their building torn down, it was determined that even a small open area in that site would make that plus the drive through too large and endanger pedestrians. So it has sat vacant for 30+ years !  As I recall there was another proposal for this area about ten years ago—and nothing happened.

    The public has to remain skeptical of any proposal.  It just usually means public meetings, zoning hearings, protests, money spent—-and in the end nothing.  After the mess the Council made of the Reserach Park, I have no confindence left.


    1. New Tower

      Yes, we seem to have a great track record of sidelined proposals. What is it about Evanston's development process that ends in so many projects fizzling? 

    2. Bland architecture

      It's hard for me to believe that in all of the comments, no one weighs in on the bulding's architectural merit. This is another addition to our once architectutrally significant downtown that offers nothing more than a box with little ot no architectural expression. No one will confuse this with the Flatiron Building. Would it be so difficult to add buildings to our downtown that are aesthetically pleasing and employ a sophisticated architectural language? Why do we always settle for the lowest common denominator?

  2. Proposed Davis Street Tower

    Does the downtown area really need the 831 Emerson

    project (rental units) and this tower on Davis Street, a few blocks south & east?

    City Planning Committee and City Council, WAKE UP ! !

    The City is reaching a breaking point & there will be empty, unneeded buildings, making Evanston start to look like Detroit !


    1. Evanston is NOT Detroit

      Comparing or inferring that Evanston could/would become like Detroit is absurd.

      Fortunately Detroit is on the rebound and it's a great old American city. But there are very few if any appropriate comparisons to draw. Your rhetoric seems right out of Donald Trump's playbook.

      Evanston is lucky to have many resources and with strong leadership our community should prosper.

      Many people want to move here because of its easy access to Chicago and northern suburbs where they work. In addition, you've got Northwestern, the lake, a thriving restaurant scene, parks, nightlife, etc.

      Demographics and lifestyles are changing and given the significant cost of buying and maintaining a house, some people are attracted to more urban, apartment style living. Recent buildings are demonstrating high occupancy rates, so more people are demanding the amenities available in newer buildings.

      As long as the developer isn't seeking massive tax incentives from the city and the building fits within the overall city plan, go for it.

      Evanston should look toward the future, and not be stuck in the past.

    2. Clearly you don’t pay rent in downtown Evanston…
      Because if you did pay rent here, you would know that there is huge demand, and the prices are astronomical.
      Newer construction 1 bedrooms go for $1,700-2,000 a month, and 2 bedrooms go for $2,300-3,000.

      Given that the demand for apartments in Evanston can support these sorts of rental prices there is clearly a need for more supply.

    3. Proposed Davis Street tower

      No developer is going to invest time and money into a building without having done the research to feel very confident that demand will be there. And it is, and steadily rising: rents are up across the north side of Chicago and Evanston. And without a growing supply of rental units, rents will become even higher. Detroit makes no sense as an analogy, San Francisco is much closer to our situation.

      I, for one, am excited by the proposed development and all in favor of it. Hello property tax revenue.

      1. If the city wants housing

        If the city wants housing stock to be affordable the real answer (as opposed to some of their approaches) is to increase supply until it has met or exceeded the demand.

        There is never going to be a lot of empty housing in Evanston — that's just a silly premise. But if you keep increasing supply, you stand a chance at keeping the cost of housing in a rational range.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *