The proposed "life sciences" building at 1740 Orrington Ave.

Plans from the Trammell Crow Company for an 11-story science and technology office building on the site of the former Burger King restaurant in downtown Evanston start the formal city review process before a special Design and Project Review Committee meeting Wednesday morning.

The developers are seeking a zoning change from the D2 Downtown Retail Core District to the D3 Downtown Core Development District as well as development allowances for floor area ratio building height, parking and the city’s ziggurat setback requirement.

An aerial photo looking southwest with an image of the proposed building added. The Rebecca Crown Center clock tower is toward the bottom center of the image and the Orrington Hotel appears to the south of the proposed building.

The site runs from the alley north of the Orrington Hotel north to Clark Street and includes a three-story apartment building as well as the Burger King property. The developers say the two properties combined now generate less than $100,000 in real estate taxes per year. They project that the new building, once fully occupied, would produce about $1,875,000 in real estate taxes annually.

They also project that the city “will also likely generate additional sales tax revenues from the increased office worker population and associated guests and visitors to the city” as well as revenue from sales tax generated by the ground level restaurant or retail use.

A rendering of a planned outdoor dining area on the Orrington Avenue side of the building.

At a neighborhood meeting about the project in September, neighbors did not voice objection’s to the proposed height of the building, but raised concerns about whether there is sufficient demand for the building and whether it might someday be sold to Northwestern University and taken off the tax roles

The developers insist that the type of office and laboratory space the building would provide is otherwise unavailable in Evanston and is in high demand here and elsewhere.

Currently companies birthed from university research projects “are spilling out into other areas of Illinois or packing their bags and heading for the coasts to grow their companies, Trammell Crow’s John Carlson says in the application for the planned development, adding, “We want to keep these jobs in Evanston.”

The meeting will be held online at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. The plans will also require review by the city’s new Land Use Commission before reaching the City Council for a final decision.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.