This rendering shows the north elevation of the proposed development at 1571 Maple Ave. The grey building in the background is One Evanston. Rendering courtesy of Centrum Partners  

Michael McLean, a partner with Condor Partners LLC,  laid out plans for a proposed apartment building at 1571 Maple Ave. at a forum held at the Civic Center on Sept. 19. About 50 persons, many who reside in One Evanston, an apartment building to the south, attended the forum and voiced their concerns. Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, convened the forum.

Mr. McLean said the building would be varying heights, with the highest level (11 stories) being on the south side of the property and the lowest level (three stories) near to Davis Street. The proposed building would contain 101 apartment units, including studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom units. About 20% of the units would be 800-square-foot studios, which he said are in high demand and would fill a need in Evanston. They will seek a silver Leed certification.

At the ground level, there would be space for retail, probably two or three tenants, he said.

The building would be built to the lot line on the Elmwood side, per City code. The sidewalk, though, would be expanded, and it could accommodate outdoor eating if a restaurant leased one of the retail spaces. The sidewalk expansion would reduce the width of Elmwood Street by about six feet, he said.

The development would provide a surface parking lot for 13 cars. The plan is to lease 101 parking spaces in the Maple Avenue Garage for $100,000 per year.

Centrum Partners LLC is the developer.

Residents of One Evanston voiced many objections and concerns. Several residents said the Downtown Evanston Plan adopted in 2009 provided a height restriction of 42 feet for any building on the lot in question.

The height restriction appears to be in Section 8 of the plan, which is “a concept draft of an alternative zoning approach.” Ald. Wilson said the plan was not adopted into the zoning code.

Damir Latinovic, the City’s neighborhood land use planner, said under the zoning code, the building could be 85 feet high as a matter of right; and with a majority vote of City Council members it could be extended to 200 feet. The proposed height is 123 feet, he said.

Another objection is the proposed building would be 12 feet from the south lot line, while the zoning code provides a set back of 25 feet. Residents of One Evanston said the proposed building would be too close to their building and adversely impact their privacy, views and property values.

Mr. McClean said Centrum positioned the building perpendicular to One Evanston, and that the width of the proposed building facing One Evanston would be 65 feet. He told the RoundTable that at the height where residential apartments are located, the proposed building would be 38 feet from One Evanston.

Several neighbors suggested the building configuration be flipped, so that the lowest part of the building would be facing One Evanston, and the highest part facing Davis Street.

Neighbors also raised concerns about narrowing Elmwood Avenue, the minimal amount of onsite parking, increased traffic, the density of the development, the number of air conditioning units on the roofs, and the lack of a need for retail space.

Ald. Wilson told the audience other persons had proposed denser developments on the site, and they should take that into account. He said the current developer is willing to work with the neighbors and has already made changes to reduce the impact on residents of One Evanston.

The developer was scheduled to appear before the SPARCC committee yesterday after this paper went to press. They are requesting Special Use approval for a Planned Development and eight site development allowances. The project must still wind its way through various City committees and receive City Council approval.

Larry Gavin

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...