Plan to restore vacant small-lot house advances

A rendering of plans for 1000 Florence Ave.

Plans for renovating a vacant single family home on a 25-foot-wide lot on Florence Avenue in Evanston's 2nd Ward received a favorable commendation from Evanston's Design and Project Review Committee Wednesday.

Kirsten Coleman, who with her husband, developer Patrick Coleman, have a contract to purchase the property, said the existing farmhouse on the site, built in 1911, has an array of problems, including leaks in the roof, mold growing in the basement and a winder staircase to the second floor that's far below present day design safety standards.


A view down the winder stairs at 1000 Florence.

Because it only has a 25-foot-wide lot, the plans require a number of zoning variations.

Coleman says their plans are to expand the second floor of the house but maintain the current footprint of the building.


Coleman gestures at the meeting to indicate that the footprint of the house would remain the same.

The building currently has six mostly very small rooms -- a living room, a kitchen and four rooms identified as bedrooms but lacking closets -- plus just one bath.

After the renovations, it would have a total of five generally larger rooms -- a living room, a dining room and a kitchen and two bedrooms with closets, plus two-and-a-half baths.

Coleman says the purchase price of the building is $209,000 and it will need more than $300,000 in renovation work and would likely be worth between $550,000 and $625,000 after the work is completed.

While a recent proposal to build a new home on a 25-foot-wide lot at 2626 Reese Ave. in northwest Evanston's 6th Ward drew extensive opposition from neighbors and was eventually rejected by the City Council, no one spoke against the proposed project at 1000 Florence at Wednesday's DAPR meeting.

The Florence Avenue plans now are scheduled for review by the Zoning Board of Appeals at its July 16 meeting.

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