Plans to more than double the size of Foster Dance Studio at 915 Foster St. in Evanston were approved by the city’s Design and Project Review Committee this week.
Dance Studio Director Kathryn Ebert told the committee that she wants to expand the studio, which now operates out of the front half of the 915 Foster building, to use the entire building.
Ebert says the rear space was formerly a warehouse for a foreign book store but has been vacant for most of the time the dance studio has been in the building.
She said the dance studio has about 250 students now and its space is cramped. The new space, she said, would let the dancers do more sophisticated choreography.
It would also allow the studio to add more classes for current students, but, Ebert said, she anticipates no more than a 10 percent increase in total enrollment as a result of the expansion.
The studio now has three employees and 10 instructors who work as independent contractors. She said she doesn’t anticipate adding more staff, but hopes to increase hours for existing workers.
The dance studio now operates from 9:30 a.m. to noon and from 4 to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekends.
Most weekday classes are in the afternoon and evening, she said, and students are able to park after 4 p.m. in the Northwestern University parking lot across the street from the building. The building is also adjacent to the Foster Street CTA Purple Line station.
The recent addition of a Domino’s Pizza restaurant next door at 911 Foster St. drew complaints from some neighbors about possible parking and noise issues. But no one appeared at the DAPR hearing to raise concerns about the dance studio project.
The proposed dance studio special use permit still requires approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals and the City Council.