Senior housing on Ridge wins final approval

A rendering of the 1815 Ridge development

Despite continued complaints from neighbors across the street, Evanston aldermen this week gave final approval to a 10-story senior housing development at 1815 Ridge Ave.

Roger Heuberger, president of the 1800 Ridge condo association, said people in his building knew that something would replace the single-story commercial laundry that used to occupy the property across the street -- but that they didn't believe it could be as tall as the project the aldermen were about to approve.

The project was first unveiled last October at a 12-story height, and reduced to 11 stories before its April approval by the Plan Commission on a 4-2 vote.

At was reconfigured again before reaching the City Council. That change shrunk it to 10 stories -- but also shifted the unit mix to provide more assisted living and fewer of the larger independent living units.

Judy Fiske.

At Monday's City Council meeting, Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, said other senior living developments in Evanston have more green space. "This isn't the type of building I would want to live in," Fiske said, comparing it to senior housing on Sheridan Road in Rogers Park, "where you see people lined up in wheelchairs on the porches."

But developer Michael McLean responded that the project included extensive greenspace on several levels of the project.

The project was submitted for review before the city's revised "inclusionary" or subsidized housing ordinance took effect. But the developer has agreed to provide two discounted independent living units within the development.

McLean said it wouldn't be financially feasible to provide equivalent subsidies in the more expensive assisted living or memory care units -- but that the project's management company would work to find other funding sources to increase the likelihood that a resident of the subsidized units would be able to remain in the development as their needs changed.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said she wanted to complement the developer on the scope of public benefits provided by the project, and, in a roll call vote, Fiske was the only aldermen among the seven present to vote against it.

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Judy Fiske

Has Judy Fiske ever come across a development project that she liked? "This isn't the type of building I would want to live in." Judy probably wouldn't want to live in my apartment either, unfortunately some of us can not yet afford a lakefront estate