[VIDEO] Evanston mayoral candidate Elizabeth Tisdahl says the city needs more apartment buildings.

In response to a question at a candidate’s forum Thursday, she said she believes the city has plenty of time to develop zoning measures to deal with gentrification issues involving single family homes.

Because of the recession, she said, it’s unlikely there will be any effor to build “monster houses” for years to come.

But she said the condo conversion trend has cut into available rental housing in the city and the city should do something to encourage more rental housing development.

Does Evanston have a rental apartment shortage?

The latest U.S. Census Bureau survey indicates that the number of occupied housing units in Evanston declined by more than 2000 units from 2000 to 2007.

The survey shows an increase of about 800 owner-occupied units, but a decrease of 3,000 in the number of occupied rental units.

That still leaves nearly 11,000 renter-occupied units compared to nearly 16,500 owner-occupied units in town.

The census survey, it should be noted, does not have the same accuracy as the regular census conducted once every decade. So we may not know for sure how the housing market here has changed until after the decade is over.

But in a three-and-a-half year period at the peak of the condo conversion boom the city reported that 567 rental units were converted to condos.

And there’s been little demolition of rental housing units in Evanston during this decade.

So it appears the demand for rental housing in the city has dropped dramatically.

That has left some apartment building owners — especially owners of small, older buildings, complaining about high vacancy levels and being unable to demand rents that cover their expenses.

Despite the problems for existing apartment owners, the city recently saw completion of the 221 unit, 17-story Skyline at Evanston rental apartment tower on Howard Street, and AMLI Residential is reportedly moving ahead with a plan to build more than 200 rental apartment units on Chicago Avenue south of Kedzie Street.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Evanston does not need more rental units
    Tisdahl probably made the statement that Evanston needs more apartments in order to reach a certain voter bloc. That’s all.

    That voter bloc is of course the anti-development crowd who feel that Evanston belongs only to those who were born here.

    Of course, Tisdahl provides no stats supporting her ridiculous claim. What would she do – provide tax incentives, TIF money and favorable legislation to renters and developers to build more rentals?

    Has she noticed that there are a lot of condo rentals?

    Tisdahl is out of touch. And the unions’ ringing endorsement of Tisdahl’s camapign is alarming.

    Dinges or Opdyke are a much better option for Evanston.

  2. more rentals?
    Anonymous Al says:

    “That voter bloc is of course the anti-development crowd who feel that Evanston belongs only to those who were born here.”

    I was puzzled by Tisdahl’s statement too. The towerphobes are saying we have too many condos and too many rented units at Sherman Plaza.

    What is the difference between an ‘apartment’ and a condo that is rented out?

  3. Conflicting information between council members
    Sharon Sheehan stated on the 8th ward quick topic site for politics “She ( Liz Tisdahl) has developed good working relationships with her fellow aldermen who represent the wards in south Evanston and knows well the issues that affect these wards.” ( former district 65 school board member )

    Ann Rainey -stated on the 8th ward quicktopic in regards to Liz and apartments. ( south Evanston council member )

    “Candace I was mortified to read and watch that. The issue speaks to our ward and I cannot disagree with her more on this. I will speak with her. She had no facts to back her up.”

  4. Rental Condos…
    “…the city reported that 567 rental units were converted to condos.”

    What about condos that have been converted into rental units? I know that many condos are now offering units for lease. Rent-to-own programs like the one at the Grand Bend condominium provide plenty of available rental options, and an opportunity for renters to become owners.

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