Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Council Approves Taking City Building To New Heights

The Evanston City Council approved plans for an 18-story, 165-unit condominium development at 1881 Oak Ave. on Monday after the city’s plan commission voted against the proposal in May.

The aldermen split 6-3 on the Carroll Place project at Monday’s meeting, where developer Robert King offered to provide $200,000 in community benefits: $165,000 for affordable housing and $35,000 for youth job training or for painting the viaduct on Emerson Street. King also promised to hire 20 Evanston residents for the project’s construction, a number the City Council voted to increase to 25.

Ald. Steven Bernstein (4th), one of the six aldermen who approved the project, cited the benefits the high rise would bring to the city, including $1.6 million in tax dollars that could go back into public works such as Evanston Public Schools. The building’s 18-story height is acceptable in the research park area, he said.

“Height belongs downtown and this is downtown,” Bernstein said.

The approval of the building drew criticism from some Evanston residents and business owners, who cite the building’s height and mass in a mostly residential area and traffic congestion among their concerns.

Jane Wicklund, who lives on the 1700 block of Maple Avenue, presented the signatures of 256 Evanston residents opposing the project at Monday’s Planning and Development meeting.

Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) said about 13 of these signatures were from residents living close enough to Carroll Place to legally object.

Wicklund said she thinks Evanston residents are tired of downtown development, particularly in areas like the research park, which shouldn’t be considered part of downtown Evanston.

“This doesn’t fit in a residential area or on Emerson,” she said. “I don’t want developers deciding how Evanston is supposed to look.”

Wicklund said the building’s 247 parking spaces and 1,200 square feet of retail space also present problems.

“It’s going to be very difficult in the research park when they’re under construction because it’s a very tight space and there’s no alleys for trucks coming in and out,” she said.

Ald. Edmund Moran (6th) said he agrees with the plan commission’s original development scenario that would allow for larger buildings in areas like the research park area on Emerson and Oak Streets, but that thinks Carroll Place is too big.

“An 18-story building would be much bigger than what’s there,” Moran said, referring to the nearby Optima Views and Reserve apartment buildings. “There is a strong sense that there’s a lot of height, mass and bulk compared to the old days and there’s the question of whether we need to stop and moderate the size and mass of development downtown and border development.”

Sue McNeil, owner of MI Lady’s Coiffure, 1025 1/2 Emerson St., said she is opposed to the development because of traffic and an increase in tax dollars for the building she rents for her business.

“It’s just gonna be very congested,” she said. “A lot of my clients come in cars since this is a residential area and the building will take up a lot of parking space.”

The Summer Northwestern’s Anna Prior contributed to this report.

Reach Amanda Palleschi at [email protected].

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Council Approves Taking City Building To New Heights