Proposed project at 1815 Ridge/Oak Ave. Rendering from the City of Evanston

A developer, 1815 Ridge Avenue LLC, is seeking a zoning change, allowances, and approvals necessary to construct an 11-story, 165-unit senior living residential building at 1815 Ridge/Oak Avenue. The triangular site was formerly the location of the National School Towel Sevice, Inc., which was badly damaged by a fire in July 2015.

As proposed, the building will contain memory-care units on the fourth floor, assisted living dwelling units on the fifth floor, and independent living dwelling units on the sixth through eleventh floors. The independent living units will contain a mix of studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.

Potential rents are about $2,100 a month for a studio and up to $8,500 a month for a two-bedroom unit.

A total of 70 parking spaces for vehicles is proposed for the ground and second floors, with parking spaces for 50 bikes.  The third floor will contain administrative offices and a wellness center, salon, theatre, community room, dining area, business center and library and two outdoor garden terraces. 

Access to the building will be primarily from Oak Avenue. The developer is proposing to widen Oak Avenue, creating a two-way street to accommodate traffic to the site.

The developer is proposing to make two of the 165 units affordable for persons with an income at 80% of the area’s median income and to pay $400,000 into the City’s Affordable Housing Fund. Staff have opined that the project is not subject to the recent amendments of the City’s Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, which expand the applicability of the ordinance to rental buildings, because it was in the pipeline before the amendments were approved by City Council.

The City’s Plan Commission was scheduled to consider the proposed project last night, March 9, after this paper went to press. City staff recommended that the Plan Commission make a positive recommendation on the project, subject to certain conditions.  After the Plan Commission has made its recommendation, the project will need the City Council’s approval to move ahead.

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...