Sherman Avenue apartment tower plans advance to next stage of review process


Source: Albion Residential

An artist rendering of the proposed 16-story building on Sherman Avenue.

Ben Pope, Summer Editor

After two weeks of discussion, Evanston’s Design and Project Review Committee unanimously approved revised plans presented Wednesday by Albion Residential for a proposed Sherman Avenue apartment tower.

The 16-story tower proposal, which would include one story of commercial space, two stories of a parking deck and 13 stories of apartments as well as a small new park at 1454 Sherman Ave., will now advance to Evanston’s Plan Commission for discussion and review in a meeting next Wednesday.

The plans were first presented in detail to the DAPR board last week, when board members made a variety of relatively small recommendations that were addressed in the revised plans presented Wednesday by Andrew Yule, Albion’s vice president of development.

Yule said feedback from a large number of comments on coUrbanize, a website that the City of Evanston is using to collect public input on the project, was also taken into account.

This week’s plan changed the windows in the brick exterior of the first three floors from individual box windows to two-story-tall, ribbon-style windows “to show a more modern design,” according to an Albion document shown at the meeting.

Other changes included adding more metal paneling to the exterior of the upper 13 floors, which would better deter bird collisions, and moving the back alley entrance to the parking deck farther north in the block to make the turn into the deck less abrupt.

Yule said that Albion plans to make a $50,000 donation to the city — to use for park improvements or other purposes — in addition to its required $2.9 million Affordable Housing Contribution to the city. Yule added that the development is not intended for Northwestern students, a frequent public criticism of the project.

“Students are going to destroy the units, and it’s going to cost us money,” he said. “We’re geared towards young professionals. … You won’t see any of our floor plans designed towards roommates.”

A number of local residents spoke at the meeting, with most criticizing the project, and board chair Johanna Leonard forcibly ended the meeting roughly 90 minutes after it began in order to stop a continuous stream of questions from upset citizens.

Chris Pappas, the owner of a spa located one block away, said he was concerned about construction eliminating parking spaces, creating noise issues and hurting his business.

Elizabeth Meadows, who identified herself a 26-year Evanston resident, said she wanted the development to include affordable housing itself, instead of Albion giving money to the city’s affordable housing fund.

Other members of the public noted concerns ranging from negative effects on Evanston’s lakeshore bird community to potentially creating a dangerous wind tunnel for pedestrians to disrupting the mix of modern and historic buildings in downtown.

One speaker said he supported the project, however, because it would add “interest and vibrancy,” in addition to greater tax revenue, to Evanston.

At the meeting’s conclusion, Paul Zalmezak, the city’s economic development manager and a DAPR board member, proposed that the plans be passed to the next stage of the process pending further recommendations by the DAPR board, and his proposal was approved unanimously.

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