Condo complex likely to further city building boom

Graham Webster

The newest condominium project in Evanston’s building boom isleaving some residents searching for a home.

Developer Thomas Roszak of Evanston firm Roszak/ADC is planninga 348-unit, six-building complex at 1100 Clark St., which iscurrently a parking lot for an office building across thestreet.

But nestled in a corner of the proposed development is athree-story apartment building at 1719 Ridge Ave., where the ownerand six tenants live. Knocking down the building would be necessaryto complete the project.

Roszak and colleagues faced scrutiny after a presentationWednesday night, when they asked the city’s Plan Commission for azoning change that would allow them to proceed with their plan.

The complex, which they will market under the name Sienna, wouldbe built in phases over about four years, Roszak said.

The long construction time is designed to ease the transitioninto the housing market, he said. But it also is designed toreserve open parking spaces for the office building at 1007 ChurchSt.

Communication junior Danielle Ongart was planning to live in herfirst-floor apartment at 1719 Ridge with friends again nextyear.

Now the building might be torn down.

“We have to be out by June 30, so we can’t live here,” Ongartsaid. “I wasn’t expecting to have to look for a new apartment.”

A University Police officer lives on the second floor but wasplanning to move anyway, Ongart said.

The building’s owner, Charles Kling, said he received an offerfor the building in October.

“Without any advertising, I sold the building,” Kling said.”It’s as simple as that. I’m going to take the money and run.”

Kling had owned the building for 19 years and said he was tiredof maintaining it.

“I’m not interested in pursuing custodial work,” he said.

Kling said he informed tenants April 19 that they would have toleave when their leases ended.

Ongart said the lack of warning was an inconvenience.

“I had never heard anything about this, and if I had I wouldhave kept my eyes open (for another apartment),” said Ongart,adding that now she has to worry about storage and movingfurniture.

“It’s a big kick in the pants,” she said.

At Wednesday’s meeting Roszak said green space and landscapingare dominant elements of the project’s design. He also said thecomplex would include a permanent parking garage to replace theexisting parking lot.

Members of the commission expressed concern over several issues,including parking and traffic during and after construction, thebuildings’ appearances and the experience of pedestrians walkingby.

The commission is scheduled to meet again May 14 at 7 p.m., whenRoszak will finish his presentation and residents will be allowedto air their views.

Roszak already had appeared before the Site Plan and AppearanceReview Board three times and talked to several landowners nearby,including church and business representatives.