Halted construction project waits for city traffic approval

Scott Gordon and Scott Gordon

Construction of a townhouse complex in south Evanston could continue as soon as Wednesday if the city approves the developer’s plan to handle traffic around the site, a city official said.

The city on Friday halted construction of the Courts of Evanston townhouse complex, 515 Chicago Ave., on the grounds that builders had provided “inadequate protection of the public.”

According to James Wolinski, director of the city’s Community Development Department, the developer, Dubin Residential, violated a section of the city’s building code that requires builders to maintain public safety and right-of-way at construction sites.

Workers at the site repeatedly blocked sidewalk and road traffic with building materials and machinery, Wolinski said. He alleges that the city had asked the builders to provide barricades, information and possibly flagmen to help direct traffic in the area, but Dubin provided only orange cones to block nearby traffic lanes.

Wolinski said the order to stop work came after the Chicago-based developers “addressed the issues” the city raised but “let things slack off” several times between March and May.

“It’s a difficult site to work at, simply because the buildings are right up to the lot line,” Wolinski said. “But the public’s got to be protected.”

The developer’s president, David Dubin, did not return phone calls Monday.

Wolinski said his department received a traffic plan from Dubin on Monday and would review it today. Once the plan has been approved — possibly as early as Wednesday — construction at the site can resume.

The Courts of Evanston is a luxury community that will include 90 townhouses in five buildings, taking up two city blocks along Chicago Avenue in south Evanston.

Dubin Residential broke ground at the site, formerly a Dominick’s Finer Food, in October. Sales for the homes began last summer, and 70 percent of the spaces in the complex’s first three sections have been sold, according to the developer’s Web site, www.dubinresidential.com.