NU to discuss plan for 7-story dorm on Hinman

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Northwestern University officials are scheduled tonight to discuss plans to replace an existing five-story dorm at Hinman Avenue and Sheridan Road in Evanston with a larger structure — part of which would be seven stories tall.

The plans, submitted to city officials last month, call for the seven-story west wing of the new building to face Hinman, with a six-story north wing and a four-story east wing facing two legs of Sheridan Road and a four-story south wing linking the new building to the existing four-story Jones Residential College.

An aerial view of the site from Google Earth, with Jones Residential College at the lower right..

The proposal would demolish the existing dorm, known as 1835 Hinman Ave., and a two-and-a-half story house.at 1819 Hinman Ave. now used for university offices. The new building is listing in the plans as having an address of 1851 Hinman.

On Monday a neighborhood group with a long record of opposing development projects, the Southeast Evanston Association, sent an email alert to its members urging them to turn out for tonight's 1st Ward meeting at 7 p.m. at the Evanston Public Library.

The property is located in the U1 zoning district, which has a by-right height limit of 45 feet, with a potential 12-foot increase for planned developments like the dorm project. Under the city's zoning code any planned development height limit could be exceeded with a super-majority vote of the City Council.

The SEA email urges its members to "defend the city's zoning ordinances and the citizens' right to expect compensation for a variance to city law."

A graphic from the university's proposal explaining the proposed design of the new building.

The new dorm proposal is part of the university's Housing Master Plan, which seeks to increase the proportion of undergraduate students living on campus. Moving more students into on-campus housing has long been a goal of some neighbors, especially those living just west of campus on either side of Sherman Avenue.

The existing combined housing capacity of 1835 Sherman Ave. and Jones Residential College is 337 students. The new construction would raise that to 606.

An image of an 1835 Hinman dorm room from the university's housing website.

1835 Hinman was build in the 1980s and is among the older dorms that offer "really tight quarters" and aren't the type of housing that students want today, the school's executive director of neighborhood and community relations, Alan Anderson, said at an NU/City Committee meeting last month.

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NU discusses new dorm with neighbors (8/17/16)

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