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Ten developers interested in library lot

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Evanston City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says 10 developers have expressed an interest in considering purchasing the city-owned parking lot near the downtown library.

That's the count of developers who submitted questions about the site by Friday's deadline for such inquiries. Actual bid proposals for the site aren't due until Sept. 30. In the meantime, the city is scheduled to post responses to the developers' questions on the city website by this Wednesday.

The City Council has set a target price of $5 million for the property, said it wants to see an office development on the site and that the project must include replacement public parking for the 76 spaces now provided by the open parking lot.

That, coupled with a requirement to provide parking for building tenants and visitors, is likely to mean proposals the city receives will call for a tall building.

The Frances Willard historic site — and the condo building at 1738 Chicago Ave.

The existing R6 zoning for the site would permit an 85-foot tall building — rather like the existing condominium tower at 1738 Chicago Ave.

Alderman Fiske at the 1st Ward meeting.

But at last week's 1st Ward meeting, Alderman Judy Fiske, whose ward includes the site, told some of her constituents, "The last thing I want to see" on the Evanston library parking lot site "is an 85-foot tall building."

"It would be ridiculous," she suggested to have a building that tall between the low-rise Woman's Club and Frances Willard properties on the block.

The property's existing zoning does not allow office buildings. So it will need to be rezoned — most likely to one of the two downtown zoning categories used for adjoining parcels on the west side of the block.

One of those, the D2 zone, has a basic height limit of 42 feet, with up to 43 more feet allowed for planned development bonuses, and it excludes up to four floors of parking from the height calculation. So it would permit a building in the neighborhood ot 120 feet tall.

The other, the D3 zone, has a basic height limit of 85 feet, with up to 85 more feet allowed for planned development bonuses, and it also excludes up to four stories of parking from the height calculation. So it would permit a building perhaps as much as 205 feet tall.

Since the project would have to go through the city's planned development process, the actual height would be subject to City Council approval.

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