Developers of a planned high-rise at 1621 Chicago Ave. got a chilly reception Wednesday night from long-time opponents of designs for the downtown Evanston site.
The project, from Horizon Realty Group, has been scaled back from an 195-foot tall, 18-story building with 180 apartments, including 18 affordable units, to a 165-foot-tall, 15-story building with 140 apartments, including 10 affordable units.
But opponents who showed up for a community meeting in the Parasol Room at the Civic Center — including representatives of the First United Methodist Church, across an alley from the site — indicated they wanted a building no taller than the 105 feet permitted “as of right” under the zoning code.
The “as of right” rules would also call for a building with no more than 54 units, which would only be required to have five affordable units.
All the additional density and height requested by the developer is within the power of the City Council to grant as site development allowances under the zoning code. Similar allowances have been approved by the City Council in the past for other major downtown developments in the city.
With downtown merchants bemoaning the loss of business from office workers now working remotely, new high-density residential development has been seen as a key factor in strengthening the downtown business climate.
But the six members of the City Council elected or appointed to the body since 2020 have yet to vote on a residential high rise project downtown.
The most recent previous plan for the 1621 Chicago Ave. site was withdrawn by the developer after the Land Use Commission turned thumbs down on it over the height issue.