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.

Arkady Kats.

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.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Bummer. We are excited about

    Bummer. We are excited about this opening in our neighborhood.  Hopefully this doesn’t effect the final plans. I don’t think it will matter much since it looks like only a portion of the walls collapsed. I looked in a couple of days ago and the entire roof was gone from renovation work. They probably didn’t brace the wall appropriately after removing it. 

    1. building collapse
      When I drove by this morning, the building was basically leveled. It sounds like when Peter went by, only a portion of a wall was down, but either further winds took more of it down, or the building was judged structurally unsound. At any rate, it looks like there is now nothing but jumbled brick on the ground.

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