A 'transit-oriented' success story

A rendering of the 1571 Maple development.

A test of whether a downtown high-rise apartment development in Evanston could succeed with limited on-site parking has turned out to be a success.

The 101-unit, 12-story Centrum Evanston development 1571 Maple Ave. was approved by aldermen in 2015 with just a dozen parking spaces on site and a contract with the city to lease 101 spaces at the city's Maple Avenue garage two blocks north of the building.

The building was substantially completed last October, and developer Michael McLean says the 99 market-rate units were all leased by this June, with only the two inclusionary units yet to be filled.

And it appears that roughly half of the tenants are living a car-free lifestyle.

Only 40 of the parking spaces reserved for the development at the garage are being used, McLean says.

During the approval process, some neighbors had said they feared that residents of the building would park overnight on nearby streets, adding to congestion there.

But Alderman Don Wilson, whose 4th Ward includes the property, says he's not received any increase in parking complaints since the building was completed.

McLean will go before the city's Design and Project Review Committee next week to seek a reduction in the leased parking requirement from 101 spaces to 50.

He says building tenants say they chose the building for its strong access to public transportation as well as downtown stores, entertainment and restaurants, so they don't need cars.

McLean will also seek city approval to change the on-site inclusionary housing requirement from the current two units to be leased at 100 percent of area median income to one unit at 60 percent of AMI.

City staff say the change would be economically equivalent to what was originally approved for the development and would better address the goal of providing housing for all demographics in the city.

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