A new design for a new Walgreens on Chicago Avenue shows a building packed with “green” features.

The plan, introduced at Monday’s City Council meeting, is the first of its kind for the company and replaces a much more conventional design approved this spring as a replacement for the current store at 635 Chicago Ave.

The energy-efficient prototype store features an array of solar panels on a sloping roof and two vertical wind turbines in the parking lot fronting Chicago Avenue.

Above: The new building design. Below: The previous design, as presented at a site plan committee meeting in February.

A Walgreens representative told aldermen the new design is progressive, cutting-edge architecture that would let the building generate its own energy on site, reducing the amount it consumes from the electrical grid.

Evanston Community and Economic Development Director Steve Griffin says the new design doesn’t change the overall size of the building, the site-plan layout or the drive-thru location.

The proposal, which drew praise from Alderman Melissa Wynne, whose 3rd Ward includes the site, is scheduled for a final vote on Nov. 12.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Wow!

    Wow. I mean, Wow! The new design is so much more inspired than the previously proposed box. Somebody in Walgreen's corporate is exercising creativity.

  2. Vandalism a concern?

    How long before some rascal kid thinks it's funny to use these wind turbines as a jungle gym? We left a bike rack on our car for a few weeks after vacation and some kid ripped it off and scratched up our car.

    1. Wind turbines will not work

      Another thing to consider is that the wind turbines are located too close to the street. If they come down they could case serious harm to passersby and cars. There is a law that says you can't place a structure too close to the property line. Why is Walgreens allowed to bypass this law? Plus, anyone who knows about wind knows that the height these are being installed at will NOT creat any sizeable wind, because the bulding will block most of the wind. So this looks like it's all for show- and not for the "blow"- so to speak.

  3. Yes, but…

    As much as I applaud the commitment to green building practices, I still must point out that the developers are maintaining the orientation of this store to passing cars. This is despite the fact that it is located in what is swiftly becoming a densely populated residential neighborhood. Since I live nearby, I often walk there, but it's an awfully unpleasant experience. To be truly "green" it should offer better pedestrian and bike connectivity to the surrounding neighborhoods, as well as bike parking. We need to insist on LEED-ND certified development, not just LEED certified buildings within auto-oriented development.

    1. No … and…

      I say let's not encourage more bicyclists to continue to break all the traffic laws … NO BIKE RACKS!!!!

      1. Bikes vrs. Cars—not even close

        "I say let's not encourage more bicyclists to continue to break all the traffic laws … NO BIKE RACKS!!!!"


        That is ridiculous and silly.  We need MORE bike racks to encourage people to leave their cars at home, reduce pollution and save lives from traffic  [car] accidents.

        The bikers breaking traffic laws can and should be dealt with but even in downtown Evanston I've only seen the police out to ticket bikers on prohibited sidewalks, three times despite the mayor and police chief saying they would and that [over a month ago] that they were going to stencil 'no bike riding signs' on sidewalks–none yet that I've seen.  Also NU says they tell students not to but their lines of communication must not work !

        'Adults' riding in packs down the streets, not looking or pausing at signs/lights [not even for other bikers], no turn signals and apparently believeing their little nylon outfits make them 'professionals' and will protect them from any car that hits them—-well they are probably beyond help, but hopefully not the police !

  4. Looks Great!

    I have to applaud the effort here by Walgreens.  As a resident of the neighborhood, this is such a pleasant improvement over the existing structure.  The effort here to go green is a welcome surprise.  This section of Chicago Avenue is really beginning to look warm, updated and inviting.  Much improvement over the 9 years I have lived here!

  5. Wind turbines on the parking

    Wind turbines on the parking lot downtown in River North are a farce.  They don't manage to do much of value, according to Crain's, and that parking lot is hardly environmentally sound.  Why would this project suddently be any different?   It's another come-on, and let's watch to see what Walgreen's wants in return for this decoration.  How about requiring bike racks, landscaping, and more amenities for people?

  6. Orientation to street

    I agree with the above poster that the placement of the building behind a parking lot dilutes its appeal.  Everything about this implies that the store is oriented toward customers arriving by auto, which isn't consistent with green design and doesn't reflect the realities of southeast Evanston.  21st century architecture, maybe, but stuck in a 1970s strip mall.

  7. Green?

    I agree with other posters that, while the design of the building is very creative, having it set back behind a parking lot is reminiscent of strip mall infrastructure. This building is within a half mile of two El stops, and is in a dense residential neighborhood – walking, cycling and transit should be encouraged by reducing (not eliminating) the number of parking spots and making the remaining spots less prominent.

    And to Anonymous who's anti-bike. Wow… you must troll this site for any transportation/infrastructure-related post just so that you can really tell bikers how you feel. We get it – you think all bikers should just be arrested and carted off, and our little bikes cut up into pieces for scrap metal. Why don't you just write it in the sky and be done with it. Way to hate. Rock on.

  8. Problems with this project

    I understand why Walgreens wants to install wind turbines- they give the impression the company is "going green". But there are several issues with this project.

    1- What company are these wind turbines from? There was no mention of the name on any web site announcing this project. So I did some reaserch and they are from a compant called WEPower. Ok, next I, looked for info on the company- no website, therefore no product info, no specifications to check the reliability of the product, and no way to check their certifications for their wind turbines for power production, safety, vibration, and most important, noise levels.

    2- The pictures shows these mounted by the street, but isn't there a law that says nothing can be high enough that if it was laid down on the ground, it can't touch public property. Why is Walgreens allowed to get around this law? 3- Why are these units so low? 18' tower? That's so low that the building will block the wind and there will be virtually no power generated from these turbines.

    I think the wind turbines they picked need a lot of scrutiny befote they proceed any further. .

  9. Landscaping

    A minor point.  The parking medians could use some green (grass and trees) to warm up the space a bit.

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