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A would-be developer of new housing on Emerson Street is now exploring the potential of a new site, after running into heated opposition from neighbors to his initial plans.

John Domanus says he’s dropped plans to building apartments on the north side of Emerson between Jackson and Wesley avenues and instead is looking at the Robinson Rentals property a block further west on Emerson.

That property lies mostly on the south side of Emerson but also extends along the former Mayfair railroad right of way on the north side of Emerson as far north as Foster Street.

It includes land now used for a small strip commercial development and for parking for Positive Connections school buses and cars for the Autobarn dealership.

Domanus says he has a meeting scheduled with city building and zoning staff this afternoon to discuss what could be developed on the property.

He says his plans for the new site are too preliminary at this point for him to be able to attend a 5th Ward meeting tonight which had been previously scheduled to discuss the Emerson and Jackson project.

Domanus last fall proposed building 44 condos in two buildings, one facing Emerson, the other facing Jackson. When a revised version of that plan calling for five-story rental apartments was presented at a Design and Project Review Committee meeting last month neighbors attacked it and urged city officials to rezone the area to forbid building anything taller than the existing, mostly two-story buildings on the block.


A diagram from the West Evanston Plan showing permitted development between Foster and Emerson. Portions of this area have since been redeveloped for Emerson Square.

Last decade the city adopted a new plan for the area running along the former railroad right-of-way, but aside from the Emerson Square subsidized housing development south of Foster Street, little has changed in the neighborhood since.


The West Evanston plan diagram for the area from Emerson south to Lyons.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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