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Workers from Midwest Wrecking started tearing down the old Citgo gas station building at Gross Point Road and Central Street in northwest Evanston today.

Developer Edgemark Properties acquired the site for $1.2 million in 2007 and had proposed to redevelop it with a Chase Bank branch.

But after neighbors waged a multi-year battle against the plan that led to several revisions to shrink the bank footprint, Chase Bank last fall pulled out of the project.

The developer has told the city it plans to plant grass on the property once the debris is removed from the site.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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10 Comments

  1. Good location for affordable housing

    This site would be perfect for some sort of multifamily affordable housing.  As it is, most of this type of housing in Evanston is clustered in the 5th ward and away from higher income areas. That is detrimental to all of us.  This site is in a higher income area and has access to multiple bus lines and is walkable to CVS and other stores on Central St.  It is already zoned residential and could probably support 8-10 units and still have room for parking and some green space.  
     

    1. Why keep driving businesses out?

      Why residents of the sixth ward would object to a bank branch that would be well maintained and landscaped (which would also be a benefit to local business) and would be in favor of a low-income property use is beyond me.  If you want to live near affordable housing there are plenty of existing opportunities for that.  Also – can someone explain how the prospect of a bank branch was worse than the eyesore abandoned gas station that sat there for years? 

      The land was purchased by a business owner as an investment, not as a project to diversify the community.  Why keep driving businesses out?  Last I checked the city could use the revenue.

      1. Affordable housing

        I believe that we should put more affordable housing around this city, and it should be all over the city, not just in certain patches. The simple fact of the matter is that there is not enough affordable housing in Evanston and that is making people that have the potential to make an impact in this town move away. We should fight against the economic disparity, embrace our diversity and put something in that spot that will either create jobs or housing for Evanston-particularly to help low-income families. That is what we need, and shutting down plans to do either or is counterproductive to the success of this city.

        1. Enough “Affordable Housing” exists in Evanston

          Go to Zillow and look at the number of properties and prices available:

          http://www.zillow.com/homes/

          There are currently 526 properties for sale. 2 bedroom condos start at $45,000 and single family homes start at $75,000. Granted these are not lakefront properties, but you have access to all City of Evanston services and schools for a very reasonable price. And that's owning a home. Rental properties are accessible to a broader range of people who haven't saved money for a down payment.

          Evanston schools currently have about 40-45% of its students who are eligible for free or subsidized lunches. Is that enough, too much, just right?

          A popular position in Evanston is to advocate for more "affordable housing"  What does that mean? How do you define it? How much "affordable housing" is enough? How much "affordable housing" is not enough? What income distribution distribution is "appropriate" for Evanston? Who is going to pay for it?

          No easy answers to any of these questions, but unless people have a framework to engage in these discussions, people will use self serving buzz words to argue their perspective.

  2. Gas station razed

    It's about time.   For those of us who live or pass there every day, it hasn't been pretty to look at the abandoned half that remained.. Why does it take so long for the Council to react when some thing that was promised by its members took too long to be done.

  3. Storage Tanks/Soil Testing

    Is the City having Owner remove the gasoline Storage Tanks an run soil tests? Or will EDC offer  that to someone that wants to build on site at taxpayer expense as they have in past.

      1. What Evanston needs is a

        What Evanston needs is a larger and more comfortable and really easy drive-thru like Starbucks or Portillo's on that corner to generate more revenue than the current Starbucks which is just too hard to get to or get out of in traffic sometimes. Why not ask them to move across the intersection and let a start-up have their current small place? You can never park there and meet up with a friend for lunch there now. So we meet at the Plaza del Lago Starbucks which has lots of parking and we give our money to Wilmette.

        Our money also often goes to Skokie or Wilmette because we cannot get into that Evanston Starbucks and have no Portillo's or Panera or Corner Bakery-type-place to drive-thru or park near to meet with friends in Northwest Evanston!  

        Whoever would build there might acquire the Sarkis drive-in that is next door to enlarge their space for parking.  Twenty years ago the owner there seemed like he might be getting old enough to retire for a good price  …..

        I don't think the property at such a busy intersection is at all suited to housing, most especially not for families.  The bank was the ideal solution for all of us …. and no food garbage to attract animals, etc. …. but the neighbors turned it down while they are perfectly happy with Sarkis and they have all purchased their homes knowing Srakis and a gas station were located there.  

        So obviously the neighbors, too, would prefer another food place or gas station there ….. 

         

        1. New Starbucks

          I agree…that would be a great place for Starbucks to move to.  I've tried numerous times to park there, and have had to leave because there is no space……and I try down the street, and Central Street is often filled.

          A new Starbucks is coming to Dempster and Dodge, and it appears that there will be a nice parking lot for that, but it still doesn't account for the people who live up north.

          I go to Plaza Del Lago, also.

  4. Demolition of Gas Station

    Demolishing a gas station and then simply planting grass?  What about EPA, IPA (and I would hope City's) requirement for remediton of hazardous stuff by the owner (or previous station owner? Where is the City involvement in this?  

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