Residents discuss proposed extended stay hotel in downtown Evanston


Jennifer Ball/The Daily Northwestern

Developer Tom Blunk speaks to a group of Evanston residents at the Orrington branch of the library Wednesday evening. He presented plans to build an extended stay hotel at 1515 Chicago Ave.

Jennifer Ball, Reporter

An Evanston resident held a community meeting Wednesday evening to solicit feedback on his proposal to build an eight-story Hyatt House in downtown Evanston. 

Tom Blunk, the developer for the site, held the meeting at Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave. The Hyatt House would be an extended-stay hotel, offering some rooms with kitchenettes and other amenities to accommodate longer visits. The building that formerly occupied the site was a one-story Heil & Heil Insurance Agency, Ald. Judy Fiske (1st) said.

“There was a building that was demolished a few years ago,” said Mark Muenzer, director of the Community Development Department. “Since then, the city has been considering different uses for the site.”

Blunk addressed a crowd of about 40 people during the meeting he hosted with Fiske and the department. The meeting was held to allow residents to voice concerns about the proposed extended stay hotel at 1515 Chicago Ave. Fiske recapped the residents’ concerns, which included building the site with more limestone instead of metal to conform with the surrounding area’s buildings.

The architect, Devon Patterson, said architectural plans for the building at the moment are to construct an eight-story brick Hyatt House hotel with some metal panels leading up to the Hyatt’s signature “crown” at the top of the building.

“It’s a very reasonable proposal, and a few modifications could make people happier, including the exterior,” 1st Ward resident Anita Remijas said.

Remijas also echoed the concerns over using limestone instead of metal to match the site’s surrounding architecture.

“This is not cast in stone,” Blunk said. “We’re here to take people’s comments.”

Muenzer said City Council is expected to vote on the proposal in April. If it is approved, Blunk said construction would begin in June, and the Hyatt would plan to open in September 2015.

Blunk also addressed concerns over the building being turned into housing for students. Blunk said the fear of the proposed site being turned into student housing was not a “legitimate fear,” calling the building “an extended stay hotel that caters to professionals.”

“We’re not a student housing developer,” Blunk said. “We have a 20-year franchise with the Hyatt House.”

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