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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Company Prepares To Repair Image Of Evanston Homes

By Dagny SalasThe Daily Northwestern

After three years of planning and negotiations, south Evanston’s newest development is now on its way to revitalizing the Howard Street neighborhood.

Bristol Chicago Development LLC broke ground in mid-September on a 221-rental unit building on the 400 block of Howard Street, a block down the street from the El station that’s now being renovated.

Michele Hays, chairwoman of the community group Brummel Park Neighbors, said she is optimistic that the construction will improve the neighborhood, which serves as the border between Evanston and Chicago.

“It’s good to see something in that empty parking lot,” Hays said. “It didn’t make the neighborhood look like it was up and coming. It generally gave an impression of blight.”

The project was delayed due to low rents and construction costs, said Bill Patrun, a Bristol associate.

“It was a challenge because the market was impacted by the loss of jobs from (the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks),” he said. “The economy slowed down, and that doesn’t help our industry.”

The apartment building is projected to open in May 2008, offering rental units costing between $1,300 and $2,400 a month, Patrun said.

“Market studies indicate that these rent levels will be achievable,” he said. “It will probably help generate further development in the Howard Street area.”

Bristol also has made use of the Howard street tax increment financing district, which allows the city to use future increases in property tax revenues for certain redevelopment projects in that district, Patrun said.

“It’s supporting other development in the area,” Patrun said. “It’s a great tool communities use as an incentive and use as a catalyst for pioneering development itself.”

The combination of their project and the Howard El station renovation also adds more value to the area, Patrun said. According to the Chicago Transit Authority, the renovation of the station will be completed in 2009.

“Right now (the area is) an eyesore, but coupled with the Gateway Centre that’s in place, it’s thriving, getting better,” Patrun said. “It’s a nice synergy there.”

The Gateway Centre is a shopping center on the Chicago side of Howard Street adjacent to the El station. Stores in the complex, which opened about six years ago, include Dominick’s and Hollywood Video.

Hays said she is excited about the possibilities that construction may provide for the rest of south Evanston.

“There’s all sorts of construction going on, which is a great thing,” Hays said. “I’m hoping it will roll down Howard Street, (because) it’d be great to see businesses improve (and) fewer empty storefronts.”

But Howard Street resident Rhuhama Arnold, who lives a block away from the construction site, said she was not sure how the area will benefit from the new building.

“We need more suitable buildings,” Arnold said. “When you have to live somewhere, you have to afford it.

Reach Dagny Salas at [email protected].

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Company Prepares To Repair Image Of Evanston Homes