Developer PIRHL LLC presented updated plans Wednesday evening for a 60-unit affordable housing development that would replace a city parking lot at 504 South Blvd. in Evanston.
Johana Casanova, a senior vice president with PIRHL, told residents at the online 3rd and 9th ward meeting that the project would have 66 parking spaces and include 28 two- and three-bedroom units and 30 one-bedroom apartments. (The size of the remaining two units wasn’t specified in her presentation.
The development is intended to be an all-electric building with much of the power used generated from solar collectors on the building’s roof.
Casanova said all the units would be affordable — eligible for occupancy by households with 30% to 80% of area median income.
Four a family of four, the current AMI income limits at those levels, she said, range from $31,260 to $83,360 a year.
The project would also replace four existing townhomes owned by the Housing Authority of Cook County.
HACC’s Jesse Silva said that assuming the project is approved, the housing authority would offer the residents of those units the option to get a housing choice voucher that would enable them to rent a privately-owned apartment or to move to a vacant HACC townhome elsewhere in Evanston.
Silva said HACC would hire a relocation expert to handle all the details of those moves.
Two owners of homes just east of the project site raised a range of objections to the project.
Doree Stein said she’d been led to believe her house at 505 Hinman Ave. would be taken to build the project and didn’t want to lose it.
Calvin Lynn of 424 South Blvd. said he feared the new five story building would leave his home in shadows.
“I think I’m going to lose a lot of equity here,” Lynn said. “What are you going to do for my health and property values? I’m being pushed out, frankly,” he added.
Paul Zalmezak, the city’s community development manager, said the project would not involve acquiring either Stein’s or Lynn’s homes.
And an architect for the project, Eric Maring, said the east edge of the new building would be about 55 feet from Lynn’s lot line.
A neighbor two blocks away from the site, Joan Agnew of 734 Hinman, complained about speeding cars in the alley behind her condo and said residents of the AMLI development across the alley “let their dogs urinate right outside our door.”
The only other speaker offering comments on the proposal, Karl Klein, a member of the city’s Preservation Commission, questioned the 30-year affordability guarantee associated with the project — saying it should be longer.
Interim Community Development Director Sarah Flax said PIRHL and HACC were committed to having housing be permanently affordable — but that the 30-year rule provided a mechanism to seek new financing to fund needed repairs after a development has been in use for three decades.
PIRHL is expected to start the zoning approval process for the development with the city next month.
It is seeking approval of low income housing tax credits from the Illinois Housing Development Authority and hopes to have that request approved by May 2023 and to get city zoning approvals around the same time.
Assuming all goes well, construction could start in Spring 2024, with occupancy of the new apartments in Summer 2025.