Evanston aldermen on a 7-1 vote gave preliminary approval Monday to changes to a planned development at 1890 Maple Ave. to make the building’s design work for a proposed Trader Joe’s market.

The changes in the 14-story project proposed by developer Robert King also eliminate second-floor retail space at the site, which reduces the parking required by the project and eliminates the need for King to lease 44 off-site spaces at the city’s Maple Avenue garage.

The new plan calls for providing 66 parking spaces on the building’s second floor for the grocery, with parking for residents of the building’s apartment units on floors above that.

Despite objections from one neighbor, the aldermen approved plans to shift the auto entrance to the building from a rear alleyway off University Place to the west end of the building’s Emerson Street facade.

Delivery trucks would still use the rear alley, and to accommodate the 62-foot semi-trucks used by the grocer, two metered parking spaces will have to be eliminated on University Place.

The developer will be required to reimburse the city for about $4,500 in lost annual revenue from those meters, despite an effort by Alderman Ann Rainey, 2nd Ward, to have that fee waived.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, said the city has required such payments from developers in the past and shouldn’t break with the policy now.

Rainey noted that many parking spaces around the site are not metered and suggested the parking committee that Wynne chairs should consider adding meters in those areas.

The city’s engineering staff reviewed the developer’s revised traffic analysis and concluded that the new entrance off of Emerson “should operate in a safe manner.”

In addition to the payment for the lost parking meters, the developer will be required to pay for widening the turning radius of intersections leading to the rear drive.

The revisions are scheduled for a final vote at the City Council’s Aug. 11 meeting.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Who voted against?
    Who voted against?

    Hansen, who has opposed the project in the past, was absent.
    Wynne, who opposed the project earlier, voted for it at this meeting.
    — Bill

  2. why no opposition?
    I am surprised that there is not more opposition.

    This will create more traffic, and an evil national chain is moving into Evanston. Don’t we want to support local businesses, like Hanan’s Finer Foods?

    And isn’t 1890 Maple a historic site that must be preserved at all cost?

    1. Trader Joe
      Who Knows, you left out an important detail. Trader Joe is owned by the same entity that owns Aldi, Germany’s answer to Walmart.

      Is 1890 historic and worth preserving because it is another example of the City not knowing what it is doing?

  3. Have you been to 1890 Maple?
    Have you been to 1890 Maple? It is about as historic as my toothbrush.
    I am not sure why a national grocer is “evil”. It seems quite convenient to me to have another high quality grocery store within walking distance of my home. True that there will be more traffic in the area, but that is trade-off that I am very willing to make. And there is plenty of room for both local businesses and national chains in downtown Evanston – I support the presence of both, in principle and with my wallet.

    I am excited to have Trader Joes coming to Evanston and am looking forward to shopping there regularly.

    1. haven’t been to 1890 Maple
      well, no, I have never been inside 1890 Maple…but still, I demand that it be preserved and declared a national landmark. Buildings like the Historic 1890 Maple Building are what make Evanston charming and unique. We certainly don’t want a tall building, full of …renters..to replace the Historic 1890 Maple Building.
      National grocers are evil because Evanston must have charming and unique grocery stores, owned by local people, who sell the unique foods that only Evanstonians like to eat, such as fruits and vegetables grown within the city limits of Evanston, and eggs from free range chickens and milk from cows that live in Evanston. Trader Joe’s is in Chicago. We don’t want to be like Chicago, do we?
      We cannot let the market decide this issue. No, that would be selling out our unique heritage. City council must stop these greedy developers and out of town grocers! They are only interested in making money!
      Another problem with this Trader Joe’s is that it will bring traffic. Out of towners! Do we want people from Skokie and Wilmette coming into our city, driving on our roads, loading up on cheap groceries and then leaving? No, I say. Where is the public benefit in that? At the very least, they should pay their fair share of taxes if they are going to shop in our city and drive on our roads, and most groceries are taxed at a low rate. Let them shop in their own grocery stores! This Trader Joe’s might even attract people from Rogers Park!

      I hope that the Central Street Neighbors Association, Evanston Coalition for Responsible Development, Southeast Evanston Association, and other patriotic organizations will start a grass roots campaign – with lawnsigns, of course – to keep this German -owned grocery store out of our city. Like Charles Dawes, who fought against the Germans in World War I, we must unite to keep the Germans out of Evanston.

      I’ve come up with catchy slogan: “Save Emerson – stop Trader Joe’s” Do you like it?

      1. Cows?
        Where are you allowed to have farm animals in Evanston?

        What is wrong with people coming from Rodger’s Park? They already come here for the 2 Whole Foods, Century Movie Theater, Vogue, and Blick (who made a local art store half way close it’s doors). You can continue shopping at JD Mills and make sure you get your friends to start shopping there too. Trader Joes will put them out of business unless people shop Evanston first. Also, I thought Edgewater was getting a Trader Joes. Did that fall through? The plus side for Trader Joes is that the company treats employees well. At least the teens and NU students that will work there will have benefits and be able to buy more locally with their paychecks.

      2. Re: Maple Avenue
        LOL! That is a very funny commentary – and wake up people! He’s poking fun at how incredibly seriously Evanstonians take themselves…….

        1. I agree! I just moved here,
          I agree! I just moved here, and judging by comments on this blog, people in Evanston take everything way too seriously! I thought this was supposed to be a progressive community…

      3. No sense in crying over spilled coffee
        Mr. Who Knows,

        When I read your slogan, “Save Emerson – Stop Trader Joe’s,” the hot coffee went thru the nose.

        Did you forget that the developer wants to build a highrise at the historic 1890 Maple site? Where’s the outrage? Peter Sanchez, you there?

        Anonymous Al

        1. Where’s the outrage
          Dear Anonymous Al,

          My main objections to the project are the destruction of the Historic 1890 Maple Building and the influx of outsiders ( whether they are merchants or shoppers) who are not familiar with the history and distinct culture of Evanston.

          However, as you have pointed out, to add to the injury of destroying the Historic 1890 Maple Building, the developers are planning to build a skyscraper on the site. This building would be out of scale compared to its neighbors (1001 University Place, for example , has only two floors) , thus disturbing the sacred principle of zoning continuity. It would create wind problems along Maple Ave., block the views for the residents of Optima Horizons and Views, and lead to increased crime. It would also greatly disturb the residents of Evanston who do not live downtown, especially those who live in the 6th ward. I believe that the bright lights of this new skyscraper will be clearly visible by any resident of the houses near Central Park Ave. and Isabella who climbs on his roof and looks south on a clear winter evening when there are no leaves on the trees.

          There is also the issue of fire safety. I don’t think that the Evanston Fire Department has the necessary equipment and manpower to deal with a new skyscraper at Emerson & Maple. They will have to purchase some new trucks with higher ladders, and I calculate that at least 12 new full-time firemen will need to be hired just for this building. In addition, the closest fire station is Station # 1 , which is about a quarter mile west on Emerson. It is a well known fact that firefighters at this Station # 1 spend all of their time answering false alarms being set by the Northwestern students (even though NU doesn’t pay taxes!), so they just would not have the time to answer a call at the new skyscraper.

          With the help of my friends at the ECRD, I have done some calculations involving Net Present Value to see how this new skyscraper/Trader Joe’s complex would impact the city and schools. I have made some reasonable assumptions ( each apartment in the new skyscraper will have 7 school-age kids, each household in the new skyscraper will spend $600 annually on groceries and other items in Evanston, Trader Joe’s will generate $8000 annually in taxes, the Historic 1890 Building – even though it is empty – generates $37 million annually in parking meter revenue, 18 new policemen will be needed to handle the increased crime and traffic caused by the new skyscraper and Trader Joe’s ). Based on these assumptions, I forecast that if this skyscraper is built, the City of Evanston will go bankrupt in 7 months.

          Most importantly, we must think of the children. This new skyscraper will bring many new residents and shoppers (from out of town!) into downtown Evanston, and they will all have cars, and add to the traffic on Emerson and other streets. I have often seen children crossing Emerson, and this increased traffic will put them at great danger. And do we want these children to grow up in a city without the Historic 1890 Maple Building?

          Mr. Who Knows

        2. The report from Rome
          Anonymous Al wrote:

          Did you forget that the developer wants to build a highrise at the historic 1890 Maple site? Where’s the outrage? Peter Sanchez, you there?

          I was wondering where the Professor went. We haven’t heard from him for some time now.

          But it looks like the Professor has popped up at the CSNA site, singing the praises of fallen souffles. Apparently he is in Rome :

          Quickly apparent is that Rome’s historic center is a fallen souffle — not one high rise visible (except for a handful of tall monuments). Rome is no exception in Europe. Paris, London, and practically all European capitals are the same — low rise city centers that preserve each city’s character and historic buildings. So, if we want the European look — historic, low-rise buildings, with side-walk cafes — then we need to stop the high-rises or put them on the periphery of the downtown area, so we can continue to build our fallen souffle.

          Never mind the fact that Paris and London have much higher population densities than Evanston. What I find amusing is that the Professor wishes to compare the historic centers of Paris ( Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Bastille, Napoleon and all that) , London ( Big Ben, Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Henry VIII and Churchill ) to historic downtown Evanston ( Radio Shack, Williams Shoes, one-term VP Charles Dawes ).

          Sorry, Pete. Downtown Evanston is not historic. Not much worth preserving, really. Some times an old building is just an old building – and by historic standards, 80 years is not very old.

          The Professor ends his commentary with this:

          For us “progress” means preserving and enhancing what we have and preventing outside developers from reshaping our city.

          Oh well..there it is again. The one constant of NIMBYism, whether in Evanston or Hyde Park or Uptown, is the idea of keeping the ‘outsiders’ out. I find it strange that a university professor would join forces with such a movement. Certainly he is aware that many Rogers Park NIMBY’s resent the presence of Loyola in their neighborhood, right?

          1. The report from Paris
            Mr Who Knows What? has obviously not enjoyed the delights of Paris, especially the exquisite tall buildings in the suburbs surrounding the old “fallen” core. These high rise environs, many the product of modern architects, are something that Evanston should envy: crime, 40% unemployment, rioting, etc. With enough perseverance Evanston can hope to achieve these levels of hip modernity. We always have the “pipeline”.

          2. Riots in the banlieues
            Let me see if I understand your logic:

            The edges of Paris have highrise public housing, where the French government houses its underclass, and these neighborhoods are full of crime and unemployment. Therefore, if we allow a developer to build private luxury condominiums in Evanston, we will have crime and unemployment.

            I just don’t buy it. Yes, the edge of Paris has highrises and crime and poverty. Tokyo and Manhattan have highrises, prosperity, and low crime rates. How many high rise condos are in charming and historic and crime-ridden New Orleans?

            Despite the Professor’s claims, tall buildings do not cause crime. There is more evidence to suggest that unemployment and inequality cause crime. Perhaps the reason that France’s highrises have riots and unemployment is that the planned economy of France – while preserving the charming French countryside and the quaint and unique patisseries and boulangeries where beret-wearing Parisians can purchase their baguettes – has not produced enough jobs and opportunity for its citizens, and has not adequately integrated its immigrant labor force, especially those of North African ancestry. { Keep the outsiders out! Sound familiar } France needs more economic growth and opportunity. Vive le Wal-Mart! Vive le McDonald’s!

            Go to the CSNA website. You will see articles by J. Smith and the Professor praising the charming French countryside (Smith) and the low-rise center of Paris (Sanchez). All of that charm and beauty has a social cost – which plays out in the highrise slums of the suburbs.

          3. The charming banlieues
            Mr. Who Know What? — Why not build the tower(s) and also make it 50% affordable as well as luxury. If the Council has the ingenuity to invent a pipeline, they can devise a PUD with those parameters. Since Focus and Klutznick are in it for the money, perhaps the Council can tap one of those marvelous TIFs to subsidize the venture and make them all happy.

            Those in the affordable units can be inspired by the lifestyle of their neighbors in the luxury units. Perhaps Rep. Meeks can provide tenants who want to send their children to North Shore schools. Evanston schools should be desirable since they spend more per pupil than most school districts.

            Those luxury dwelling tenants could fuel the economy and provide jobs in the downtown core. With that resurgence, the City could accomplish two goals with all that new tax revenue, bring the police and fire pension funds up to full funding (unless Gov. BlowDry imposes new benefits) and have enough surplus revenue to build a new Civic Center — in downtown Evanston! Think how green that would be, with all those new tenants walking to new jobs at the new Civic Center as the city expands its services.

            Who needs Paris or Rome! Charm and a sense of history are passe’.

          4. CSNA says: Save Taco Bell!
            “Anonymous Anonymous” wrote:
            Mr. Who Know What? — Why not build the tower(s) and also make it 50% affordable as well as luxury. If the Council has the ingenuity to invent a pipeline, they can devise a PUD with those parameters.

            No. Bad idea. This ‘affordable housing’ stuff doesn’t work. Housing should be at market rate.

            Another point about the Paris highrises that I didn’t mention in my previous post is that they demonstrate a failure of the planned cities. The French bureaucrats kept their charming inner cities, restricted development, and build planned housing on the outskirts of town. The result: highrises of crime and unemployment. If anything, this should be an argument against excessive planning by municipal bureaucrats, and in favor of market forces. Unfortunately, the NIMBY’s at CSNA just see it as an excuse for even more planning and bureaucracy was recently posted on the CSNA website.
            Again, take a look at Central Street NIMBYs Association website. Jeff Smith’s analysis of the Draft Downtown Plan criticizes the proposed plan for Evanston because, among other things, it doesn’t mention a place for dancing.

            Dancing? The government is to regulate dancing? Yes, take a look:

            It does not mention the lack of central place for public assembly, the complete absence of live theatre, a paucity of live music, no dancing, little indoor recreation, no art museum, low-cost food venues getting replaced by pricy ones, and that if you run out of gas, you are marooned.

          5. The Downtown Plan
            Mr Who Knows What forgets that we are paying tax money to consultants for a “wedding cake” downtown plan that will increase the number of tall buildings and create many more housing units that will be hard to sell in this market. The prior Klutznick condos are over 40% rental — people could not flip them or could not sell their existing housing. Many other projects are in limbo, begging for delays.

            The City just dreams of Tax Revenue!

            I would tear down the whole Fountain Square block and make it a real plaza. A real downtown center to attract people, not some extended middle finger to remind us of development fiascos. The Research Park anyone? The “plaza” that the theater development was supposed to give us is a farce and was filled with Puck restaurant tables. The Chandler Plaza at least works.

            You don’t like central planning? This is the People’s Republic of Evanston, where the elites know all and must overcome the majority views of those plebian citizens who pay the taxes.

            You don’t approve of affordable housing efforts by the City! How are we going to maintain the diversity? A diversity impacted by higher and higher taxes, fees, surcharges…

            Tch tch!

          6. Tear down Fountain Square block?
            “Anonymous Anonymous” wrote:
            I would tear down the whole Fountain Square block and make it a real plaza. A real downtown center to attract people, not some extended middle finger to remind us of development fiascos

            “Extended middle finger”? Is that you, Vito?

            So, you want to tear down the whole Fountain Square block and make it a real plaza. Fine – I suppose that NIMBY’s who pretend to care about the ‘historic’ buildings won’t mind if you are just tearing them down and not building anything new, since NIMBY’s love empty lots even more than they love old buildings.

            But what about tax revenue? Won’t tearing down all those buildings, and just putting in an empty lot, deprive the city of property tax revenue?

            And why would an empty plaza attract people, any more than Fountain Square currently does? It might be a nice place for homeless guys to sleep, but other than that I don’t see what the attraction would be.

            ( Well, maybe ECRD will come up with an ‘analysis’ that shows that an empty city-owned plaza generates more revenue than an occupied commercial block. Or maybe we can just blame it on Northwestern, and find a way to tax them. )

          7. Fountain Square
            Mr Who Knows What why not tear down Fountain Square (Bubble Square to Ald. Moran), It is just a bunch of old buildings. It would spare Focus and Klutznick the problem of funding and selling the Tower. It would be a pipeline to attracting people downtown. Just think of the protests and gatherings one could have there.

            Attracting homeless? Are you implying that Evanston has homeless? Must be part of diversity. Or can’t they afford housing here? More “luxury” units will help. After all we have been told there is commercial space aplenty and that 708 Church is not needed. Retail? Perhaps Steve & Barry could come downtown.

            As for the ECRD analysis, no one has demonstrated that it is in error, that is unless one does not accept the concept of NPV. Two proponents of not using NPV are Marty Stern and Jonathan Perman. They must have learned finance theory from the actuaries who got us into the pension fund fiasco. Perhaps NU can annex the City and use its finance skills, as evidenced by its endowment, to bail us out — or buy us out.

          8. Anonymous anonymous
            “Anonymous Anonymous” –
            Either you are Vito, or you are doing an excellent parody of him.
            The problem – as I have learned – is that it is difficult to parody the NIMBYs, because their ideas are so absurd to start with that reductio ad absurdum is no longer an option.

  4. Finally, a TJs in Evanston
    I wonder if you’re confusing the very old building on the east side of the street for 1890 Sherman, which to me looks like something built in the 1970s. We lost the battle for Maple Ave. a long time ago. A few more cars isn’t going to matter.

    After years of making pilgrimages out to the Glenview Trader Joe’s, I can save on gas AND support local jobs while saving money on my favorite healthy foods. What could be better than that? I doubt the people who are arguing against TJs have been to a TJs. It’s going to hurt Whole Foods the most. I’ve heard that they have lobbied against TJs for years.

  5. Historic is as historic does
    Of course the building’s historic, it was built in the late 80s as part of the wonderful Evanston/Northwestern Research Park that was going to turn Evanston into the next Silicon Valley. Don’t you remember?

    I used spend time in the building which is harmless, but which has been without significant tenants for a long time. I even once went to a party in the building that preceded it; that building was old but definitely not historic. Like with most of the City’s attempts at planned development, the hype of the Research Park outpaced the reality, so a Trader Joe’s is almost certainly an improvement for the community on the Institute for the Learning Sciences.

    1. Historical Buildings and Mr. Smith’s filibustering
      On the topic of what is ‘historic’ :

      Once again I was checking out my favorite anti-NIMBY website, Hyde Park Progress and came upon this column containing a discussion about the NIMBY language and the University of Chicago’s plans to redevelop the abandoned Doctor’s Hospital :

      It is interesting that our “preservationist” author leaves concerns about “demolishing” the “historic” Doctor’s Hospital to number 5. “Historic” is NIMBY for “old.”

      But wait..there’s more…the Hyde Park Progress blog continued:

      If your back is against the wall and change might happen, the garden variety NIMBY thinks — “how can we delay progress indefinitely? I’ve got it, let’s study it!” We need a comprehensive “development plan” for the three blocks on Stony Island from 56 to 59th, proclaims our scribe.

      Interesting…if you take a look at the Central Street NIMBY’s Association site, you will see an article titled Downtown Plan Needs More Discussion, in which Trish Stieglitz writes that Jeff Smith calls for ..you guessed it …more study because there has not been “sufficient discussion”.

      More study and discussion, Mr. Smith? How much more discussion will be sufficient?

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