Evanston aldermen Monday rejected 7-2 a proposal from the city’s Preservation Commission to landmark a former single family home at 1726 Hinman Ave.

The owner of the property, the Sigma Chi Foundation, which has its headquarters next door, had requested city approval to demolish the building, when a resident who lives over a half mile away, Jim Kollross, launched a campaign to save it.

The Preservation Commission, which decades ago had excluded the building on the west side of Hinman, from the Lakeshore Historic District that includes homes on the other side of the street, jumped at the chance Kollross provided and approved the landmark designation unanimously, over the objection of the foundation.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, residents of the large condominium building next door at 1730 Hinman argued that 1726 should be preserved to maintain the views from their windows.

1726 Hinman, in a 2007 county assessor’s office photo.

Manuel Flores, an attorney for Sigma Chi, said landmarking would violate the foundation’s property rights and that Sigma Chi followed the city’s rules to seek demolition of the property.

Flores had previously estimated that it would cost the foundation over $3 million to upgrade the building.

Only aldermen Judy Fiske, whose 1st Ward includes the site, and Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, voted in favor of the landmark designation.

Related stories

Demo or landmark on Hinman? (6/12/17)

No landmarking without owner consent (6/14/17)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Frat life

    Possible that rival fraternities are lobbying to keep it a landmark? Fraternities are always pulling pranks on each other. 

  2. When will this stop! Council grow a spine.

    What made this land sacred ? Did Lincoln spit on the ground there. Maybe Jim Kollross will now have his house demolished so what every was planned for 1726 can be built on his vacant land ! He lives 1/2 mile away—what does [or rights/vote] does he have ? Owners of 1726 should be compensated by the Preservationists for the ‘opportunity’ cost of what they had planned and any additional costs of maintaining the building.

    This Preservationist mentality has to stop. Disband or pay no attention to them—they seem to live in the 18th Century and probably get their news by pony express and would never know about anything on the Web or TV.

    1. How about compensation for the Mansion ?

      Maybe the Preservationist should make a ‘contribution’ to the taxpayer for keeping the mansion off the tax rolls, cost of maintaining it, and opportunity cost [as in earnings of proposed buyers] of not having something useful done with it.  The various art groups should do the same with the theaters and other places the city gave land/buildings at non-market rates.  People complain about lack of taxes from NU, but what about what the preservationists and city council have cost us.

      I wonder if the statue of General Lee [or others] was in Evanston, if the preservationist would have fought for it to remain ?

  3. Nice house, but …

    Congratulations to Sigma Chi. Too bad that they were run through the wringer by people who have no skin in the game. That nonsense has to stop. If preservationist groups want to preserve, they need to take ownership of what they want to protect. Let them follow the Nature Conservancy model to acquiring property. The current model is simple harassment of property owners who don’t want landmark designation.

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