Evanston residents will get a chance to voice their opinions about the proposed 18-story Optima Promenade development at 1515 Chicago Ave. when the Plan Commission continues its hearing on the project on March 1.

A view from the northwest of a model of the Optima Promenade project. (Optima photo)

At the first hearing, Feb. 8, the developer’s attorney said the project would include 175 condominum units, ground floor retail and two floors of offices, as well as six parking levels, two of them underground.

In the past five years Optima has developed three other major projects in Evanston with over 550 condominum units.

Half the Promenade units would have two bedrooms, with the rest equally split between one- and three-bedroom units.

Attorney John Murphey said the development fits within the maximum height permitted for a planned development in its D4 zoning district.

The basic height limit in D4 is 85 feet, but there’s a 20-foot bonus for mixed-use residential projects, a 40-foot bonus for including enclosed parking, and another 40-foot bonus available for planned developments.

Mr. Murphey said prices would range from $300,000 for a basic one-bedroom unit up to $2 million for a 3,000 square foot three-bedroom unit.

An elevation drawing of the west facade of the proposed building. (Optima photo).

Optima officials say that by providing planting areas on multiple levels the project will include nearly two acres of landscaping on a site that’s just over one acre in size, and that the courtyards and glass-walled retail areas on the first floor will provide pedestrian sightlines throught the development.

Planned exterior finishing materials include granite, anodized aluminum and glass.

The developer claims the property tax revenue from the site will increase from $200,000 now to $2.8 million as a result of the development.

Many neighbors objected to the proposal at a community meeting with the developer in January – saying it will increase traffic congestion, ruin views of downtown from their units and create a wind tunnel-like effect at the site. They are expected to turn out in force for the next Plan Commission hearing.

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A copy of the 68-slide presentation Optima made to the Plan Commission Feb. 8 is attached below. Note that it is over 4.6 MB and may take a while to download. The Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view it.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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