Plans for what would become Evanston’s tallest building are scheduled for review by the city’s Preservation Commission Tuesday night.

The planned 33-story apartment building at 601 Davis St. would rise 313 feet, topping the height of the adjacent 1603 Orrington tower, which, at 277 feet, has been the city’s tallest building since its completion in 1969.

A birdseye view looking northeast toward Lake Michigan with the 1601 Orrington building in the foreground.

The Preservation Commission session, scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday in Room 2404 at the Civic Center, will be the first public presentation of plans for the 601 Davis project since a 1st Ward meeting last March, where some residents raised objections to its height and potential impact on traffic.

The project would preserve and renovate the two story landmark University Building on the corner of Davis and Chicago Avenue, with the new building to be constructed on adjoining parcels. One of those is vacant, the other contains the drive-thru for Chase Bank.

A rendering of the base of the planned towner showing the existing University Building on the right.

The building would incorporate a smaller bank drive-thru facility into its ground floor.

The project will require a variety of site development allowances for, among other things, height, parking and the depth of its ziggurat setback.

An aerial view of the 601 Davis site and its environs today, from Google Maps.

The Preservation Commission makes advisory recommendations to the Plan Commission regarding landmarked properties in planned developments.

The Plan Commission in turn makes recommendations to the City Council, which will ultimately decide the project’s fate.

Update: The commission took no action on the 601 Davis proposal on Tuesday, Sept. 19, and is now scheduled to review the proposal at a special meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. What happened to new condo buildings?

    I like this development but I’m becoming alarmed at all of the new rental buildngs popping up in Evanston. Real estate is one of the best investments most of us can make.There doesn’t seem to be a healthy number of new condo buildings in Evanston.  It appears ownership is declining in downtown Evanston and that can’t be good in the long term. 

    I wonder if these highrise landlords could survive another economic crash. If not, then what happens to these highrise rental apartments? Maybe on the other hand someday they could be converted into condos? I hope so. Owners typically take better care of their properties. 

  2. the Chase Bank drive-thru

    Are there plans to replace the Chase bank drive-thru access to the ATM machines or will we be just out of luck if this building takes over?

    1. 5th graf

      “The building would incorporate a smaller bank drive-thru facility into its ground floor.”

      — Bill

  3. Another Rental Building

    I’m at a loss to understand why the Preservation Commission would consider adding yet another rental highrise to downtown Evanston. I concur with a previous post that owners are more invested in a city than are renters and add stability to a downtown. I understand that the university (which pays no tax to begin with) creates a need for housing, but expecting an investment in our downtown is not unreasonable to those of us who DO pay taxes. Creating hundreds of “temporary” living quarters adds density and transience that most benefits the developer, not the city.

    1. Market demand?

      Hi Sharon,

      The market for new rental housing has been hot for the past few years locally and across the nation, with more people seeking rental housing.

      Last decade it was the condo market that was hot, and the market may turn in that direction again, eventually — especially if incomes rise and people feel more secure in their jobs (or if mortgage lending standards again get too loose).

      Incidentally, with 45 percent of Evanston households renting, that’s a pretty big minority group here that you’re dissing in your comment.

      — Bill

    2. renter bias

      Whats with all this anti renter prejudice? This idea that renters are somehow less vested really is without basis.  Why would anyone think every renter is going to be a college student, kinda ridiculous.  Even more absurd is the idea that renters somehow don’t pay taxes while mortgage holders “DO” pay taxes.

      These new buildings will be assessed at higher, new construction values.  Which means that these renters are essentially paying higher rates of r.e. taxes per sq foot of living area then many/most mortgage holders are.  So renters “DO” pay, and pay at a rate that sounds to me like they are very vested here. 

      Preservation commission has a developer willing to preserve the corner building, one would think that should be enough.

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