Centrum Evanston, at 1571 Maple Ave., has on-site parking for 11 vehicles. Credit: Google Street view image from City of Evanston packet

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The Centrum Evanston high-rise apartment building, 1571 Maple Ave., has 101 units but apparently few of its renters need parking.

The Evanston Design and Project Review Committee on Tuesday, May 3, unanimously approved a proposal allowing Centrum to stop leasing garage parking spaces from the city. According to Centrum’s owner, 1571 Maple Avenue LLC, those 55 spaces are unnecessary thanks to the building’s transit-oriented profile.

Instead, Centrum Evanston is asking that the required number of parking spaces it leases be reduced from 55 to zero, effectively ending the original lease. When the building opened in 2016, it originally was required to lease 101 spaces in the city’s Maple Avenue Garage. That number was reduced to 55 in 2018. 

Michael McLean of Condor Partners, which developed the property, told committee members May 3 that the leases were never a benefit to residents; rather, they were an insurance policy against neighbor complaints about street parking availability.

McLean said there have been no neighborhood complaints about Centrum parking in subsequent years. No widespread need for spaces in the Maple Avenue garage ever materialized either, he said.

McLean said Centrum is basically “on top” of public transit; he added that residents who did drive often preferred to park in locations closer to the building. Residents use just six spots in the city garage.

The building’s owner is paying $110 a month per space – which for 55 spaces works out to a $6,050 monthly bill – so the spots are essentially “bleeding money,” McLean said.    

Centrum has 11 on-site parking spaces that are available for retail shoppers during the day and residents at night. One of the parking spots is an electric vehicle charging station.

As a condition of the proposal’s approval, committee Chair Johanna Nyden suggested to McLean that he investigate the possibility of additional charging stations, McLean agreed to do so. 

Centrum is not the only Evanston residential development to have problems filling its allocated spots. McLean said the building’s owner has received offers to rent even more unused spots at other apartment buildings.

Tuesday’s committee vote was not the final word on the matter, which next goes before the Land Use Commission on May 25.

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  1. Has the question been asked what this change would mean for current residents of Centrum who do rent parking spaces at the garage at Centrums rate? Will they be grandfathered in for a period of time; lose their spot or have to pay the city rate??????