Albion project begins formal review

A model of the planned building and its downtown neighbors.

Developers of the proposed Albion Residential high rise on Sherman Avenue in Evanston unveiled a 3D printed model of the building and neighboring downtown structures at a Design and Project Review Committee meeting at the Civic Center Wednesday.

City staff members on the committee raised a variety of questions about details of the 16-story, 287-unit building planned for the northwest corner of Sherman Avenue and Lake Street and extended their review of the plans until another meeting at 2:30 p.m. next Wednesday.

Andrew Yule speaking to the committee about the plans.

Albion Vice-President Andrew Yule said the model demonstrated that the new building -- located just east of the elevated CTA and Metra tracks at the south end of the modeled area -- would fit in with other buildings added to the downtown skyline in recent years.

Thomas Klein.

The only public comment against the project came from Thomas Klein and his son Carl, who both live at 823 Michigan Ave., about a mile southeast of the development site.

Thomas Klein said the city should stop letting developers dictate what the city should look like. He said the development would be out of context for the site -- blocking the view of church steeples and sunlight.

A rendering of the Albion development, also showing the Holiday Inn and Immanuel Lutheran Church on the east side of the Sherman and Lake intersection.

Yule said that in the latest iteration of the plan all vehicle access to the building will be through the alley between the site and the train tracks, eliminating the need for a curb cut on Sherman Avenue.

Paul Alessandro.

Architect Paul Alessandro, of Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, said the three-story base of the building would mimic typical storefront facades to harmonize with neighboring low-rise buildings. There'd be "no blank facades at street level," Alessandro said.

Johanna Leonard and Scott Mangum.

Community Development Director Johanna Leonard suggested specifying glass for the building's windows that would be designed to prevent birds from flying into the structure.

"There's strong evidence a lot of birds die in Evanston," Leonard said, "I hope we can set a new standard here."

Mangum said he had concerns about how the street-facing windows at the second and third story level -- which will house parking for the building -- would be designed to "read as an active use."

A rendering of the Sherman Avenue facade of the proposed building.

Alessandro said the windows on the parking levels would use spandrel glass so that "you won't see headlights flashing through."

He added that the windows would be recessed, with "real punched openings" and that if the ceiling is painted white behind the windows, it would look from the street like the interior of an apartment unit rather than a garage.

The proposed pocket park.

The building's plans also call for a pocket park on the Lake Street side of the building. Neighborhood Planner Meagan Jones asked the developers for more details about what that would look like during the winter months.

Other questions raised included how recumbent bikes would get access to the bike storage room and how easy it would be for visitors to gain access to the car sharing service parking spaces.

In response to a question about how deliveries to building residents would be handled, Yule said that with the increase in online shopping the building is planned to have a secured room with surveillance cameras, and every time a resident had a package delivered they'd get a one-time code to open the storage room door.

An aerial view of the planned pocket park.

More information

Related stories

City planned developments page

Project website at CoUrbanize.com

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Comments

Please, yes. This

Please, yes. Additional residential density in areas next to mass transit needs to proceed. I live (and own) on the other side of the tracks from this (about as close as anyone can live to the development site, barring any renters above the Bar Louie), and I want this to proceed. It's good for the businesses in downtown Evanston, it's environmentally responsible, and this is an attractive design (leagues better than the admittedly mediocre Sherman-Davis-NorthFace mega-structure). And don't discount the additional property tax revenue this will bring in (not a lot of units in the building large enough for families, so this won't add many students to the schools). This isn't in an existing residential zone, and it will bring more vitality to a rather moribund section of downtown.

You're obviously welcome to your opinion, but it's counterproductive to progress.