Developer Tim Anderson says the proposed Fountain Square tower could be made to fit the 708 Church St. site under the 385-foot height limit approved for the block last week by the City Council’s Planning and Development Committee.

But Anderson told Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin that financing the project isn’t possible in today’s economic climate.

Anderson says he expects it will be sometime next year before the market for residential condos in places like Evanston improves enough to gain bank financing to build the tower.

The Fountain Square project has been tabled by the City Council since last May, pending final adoption by the City Council of the downtown plan, which would establish new height limits for the area.

The original tower proposal called for a 49-story building, which the developers reduced to 38-stories under pressure from project opponents.

It might need to be trimmed a bit more to fit under the limit the council committee approved last week.

Anderson said now “is a good time to get the zoning approvals done and be poised and ready when the market returns.”

One uncertainty is whether the council will act on the tower project before or after city elections in April.

Despite the preliminary adoption by aldermen of the new height limit on a 6-2 vote, it’s unclear whether the tower project has enough support among the current aldermen to win approval. At least four, and possibly as many as six new faces will be on the nine-member council after the election.

Related story

Aldermen back 385-foot height limit

Fountain Square project tabled

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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