A vacant storefront building at 1829 Simpson St. in Evanston that had recently been approved for conversion into a restaurant collapsed this morning.
Update 9:55 a.m.: Fire Division Chief Paul Polep says high winds early this morning apparently caused the collapse. He says no one was inside the building at the time and no fire fighters were injured in the incident.
He says the city’s building department is investigating the collapse.
The property’s owner, Arkady Kats, had just submitted final plans for interior and exterior remodeling for the planned Lenny & Lambs restaurant for review at the city’s Design and Project Review Committee last week.
A rendering of the planned restaurant’s facade.
The City Council last October approved rezoning the property for the restaurant use as well as the special use permit and zoning variation requred for it.
Although some neighborhood residents opposed the plan, the project had the support of Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, 5th Ward.
The property, which is believed to have been built in the 1930s, has been vacant for most of the past two decades.