Within the next couple of weeks, Evanstonians can anticipate demolitions for two different long-term projects: the new Northlight Theatre and the apartment building going up in place of the former Vogue Fabrics store.

Fourth Ward Council member Jonathan Nieuwsma shared these updates with the community at a Tuesday, June 7, ward meeting, along with the representatives from each project who were there to answer the community’s questions. 

Fourth Ward Council member Jonathan Nieuwsma points to an image of the buildings that will be demolished to construct a new Northlight Theatre. Credit: Adina Keeling

Constructing the Northlight Theatre complex at 1012-1016 Church St. would mean two buildings need to be demolished, said Janet Mullet, Managing Director at Northlight.

The Barn, at 1016 Church St., will remain, as will the nearby parking lots. 

“Once we do start demolition, we’re expecting it to take about two weeks to take all of the walls down,” said Mullet. “At this point, we’re hoping to keep that work contained to Monday through Friday.”

The contractors are still working on their demolition plan, which will need city approval before it can begin, Mullet said. But because the submission and approval process isn’t done, she said, Northlight doesn’t have an exact start date yet.

Rendering of proposed Northlight Theatre, on Church Street. Credit: Northlight Theatre

Responding to a question, Mullet said the building will likely not be LEED Silver Certified, but it will meet LEED Silver standards. “There’s an enormous amount of money and time in the actual certification, but if we meet the standards, we feel pretty good about that,” she said.

Plan for apartment building

Charles Davidson of Catapult Real Estate Solutions gave a brief presentation on the 120-unit apartment building that will replace the former Vogue Fabrics store, 718 Main St. The building will include a rooftop deck, a central lobby, a courtyard in the back, retail space on the bottom floor and 47 parking spaces.

“We’re really excited about being here and doing this project,” Davidson said to the small crowd. He showed a construction timeline, which sets the demolition in June. Workers will excavate the site and lay the foundation between July and September. 

Developer’s rendering of five-story rental building planned for current Vogue Fabrics site, 718 Main St.

Nieuwsma warned his constituents that construction is often noisiest at the beginning of a project. Davidson also pulled up a slide showing the construction work hours, which are between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. 

“How do you guys plan to be good neighbors during the construction,” a community member asked Davidson. In the past, the speaker said, construction projects on Main Street have started well before 7 a.m, workers have left her street trashed and construction vehicles have taken up neighborhood’s parking. 

The site won’t open until 7 a.m. and a project superintendent will oversee the project, Davidson responded. Several parking spots are designated for the contractors, he added. 

Other community members reiterated the speaker’s parking concerns, during the construction process and after its completion, because the 120-unit apartment only provides 47 parking spaces. 

The timeline for the apartment building to replace the former Vogue Fabrics store. Credit: www.vogueonmainapartments.com

Several of the meeting’s attendees also wanted to know how the representatives from the two projects feel about coming downtown, given the crime and safety concerns. Neither representative expressed much concern about crime. 

Nieuwsma said that the projects should draw more people downtown and help make Evanston a safer place to live. “We’re doing the best we can with the resources we have available to make Evanston a nicer place to live,” said Nieuwsma. 

Adina Keeling is a photojournalist and reporter, covering city news, sustainability, schools, and art. She also investigates mental health systems and environmental injustices in Evanston, and puts together...

3 replies on “Buildings slated for demolition to pave way for Northlight Theatre, apartment complex ”

  1. Any news about the vacant Burger King downtown that’s supposed to be demoed for an office building? Any news about the entire block of boarded up vacant homes at Emerson near jackson? We’ve been hearing about supposed projects on these sites for years. What’s the hold up this time around?

    1. Hi Kelly – the developer has said they plan to start construction on the Burger King site for the biotech/life sciences research office building “later this year” with planned completion in 2024. The re-zoning was approved by City Council in April. The project site also includes an adjacent apartment complex, so I would imagine they have to wait until all residents are housed elsewhere/leases expire, which takes time. They can’t start work just with the vacant Burger King until the other building empties out although I have no insider information as to if that’s the holdup, but that would be logical to me.

      For the block of boarded up vacant homes near Emerson and Jackson, there have been a few developers who have had proposals in the past (e.g. five story apartment complex), but local neighbors seem to not be in favor of any high-density housing or housing that might attract more affluent buyers, so not sure where it stands. In the past few months, though, a construction fence has been erected and several large mature trees were sadly taken down on the property, so perhaps something is in motion, or they simply are preparing the site to make it more attractive for some developer. I hope someone finds good use out of the site and develops it in some capacity as it’s quite an eyesore and a waste of space in its current form.

      1. Thanks for the info, Fred. I hope these projects all have their financing in place since interest rates are going up substantially. We’re entering the stage in the business cycle where projects get cancelled or delayed for years if they don’t get off the ground prior to an economic downturn.

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