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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Second extension for Oak Ave. condos

Developer Robert King has two more years to start construction at the vacant property on 1881 Oak Ave., thanks to the City Council’s recent approval of a second deadline extension that gives him until July 2010 to begin development.

The site has been empty for at least 20 years, and in 2006, King’s company, Carroll Properties Inc., got permission to build a 165-unit condominium building there. His first deadline expired a year later, in June 2007, when he was granted a one-year extension. On April 28, the council gave King another extension, this time for two years. King said he requested the second extension because the fragile state of the economy means building new condos is no longer fiscally responsible.

“Why do you think (we haven’t started construction yet)?” he said. “The housing market is flat on its back.”

The council added some stipulations to the extension after complaints arose that the property had been poorly cared for. Carroll Properties had to agree to mow the lawn every week, shovel the sidewalks during the winter and take down a construction fence that Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) described as “really ugly” in the Planning and Development Committee meeting April 28.

Two Evanston residents spoke out against the proposed extension at the meeting, including Tina Paden, who passed out a photo of the construction fence and said the developers “do not maintain the property.”

King said he doesn’t understand why residents might oppose the extension or his development plans at 1881 Oak Ave.

“I respectfully disagree with them,” he said. “I don’t know what the basis of their disagreement is. The property has lain fallow for 20 years.”

Ald. Delores Holmes (5th), chairwoman of the Planning and Development Committee, said most Evanston residents have no problem with King’s plans for the area or the council’s extension.

“It fits in with the development of Evanston,” she said, adding that she understands “the economic conditions right now” that explain why the project has been slow to get off the ground.

King said he hopes that the two-year deadline will be enough, saying that some economists indicate the market might be better by early 2010. In the meantime, he has no intention of abandoning the project.

“We’re proceeding along,” he said. “We obviously have a commitment to the city.”

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Second extension for Oak Ave. condos