Developers present plan for development targeting ‘active’ seniors


Oreste Visentini/The Daily Northwestern

Johnny Carlson, a principal at Trammell Crow Company, presents a proposal for a 17-story building on Oak Avenue. At the Thursday meeting, Carlson said the building would be directed toward aging baby boomers.

Nora Shelly, In Focus Editor

Another tower project may be on its way to Evanston.

Developers for a building on Oak Avenue in downtown Evanston presented their plans for an “active adult” community at a sparsely-attended neighborhood meeting Thursday evening. The plans call for a 17-story building with 169 units targeted at people 55-and-older who aren’t in need of assisted living or nursing care.

Johnny Carlson, a principal at Trammell Crow Company, the development firm leading the proposal, said buildings directed at aging baby boomers such as this one are fairly new.

“There is a big, robust demand coming and very limited supply across the country,” Carlson said.

The building, 1727 Oak Ave., sits next to train tracks to one side, Oak Avenue to another and Church Street to the south. The site currently houses a parking lot for an adjacent office building, which is on the same tract of land.

The building would have “amenity space,” including a salon, meeting rooms and terraces, said Aaron Roseth, president of the project’s architecture firm, ESG. The building’s first two levels would be wider than the upper levels and will house the common spaces, Roseth said.

“These are active adults and they do want to participate in the community,” Roseth said. “So for us it’s really important … to activate the ground level.”

Some amenity services will be included in rent, and others will be additional, Carlson said.

Rent is planned to be $2,500 for single-bedroom units and $4,000 for two-bedrooms. Carlson said this puts their building above typical market prices for such units and below independent-living units when it comes to cost. There will be 158 parking spaces on site.

“What this is, is basically a stepping stone to independent living,” Carlson said.

This building would be among several high rises proposed for Evanston. The city is in the process of considering towers on the 1400 block of Sherman Avenue, 601 Davis St. and the 1700 block of Sherman Avenue, among others.

Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd) said he expects the building will fit in “fine” with the surrounding area. The building at this stage is expected to be 176 feet tall. However, the development plans are not yet finalized and have not been submitted to the city.

Under Evanston’s Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, the building will have to designate 10 percent of its units for affordable housing. Alternately, the developers can choose to give money to the affordable housing fund in lieu of designating units.

The ordinance would require Trammell Crow Company to designate 17 of its 169 units as affordable housing. Carlson said their current plan is to make 25 percent of the 17 units in-house affordable units, and give money to the fund for the rest. Monthly rents for the affordable housing units would cost between $700 and $900.

Several Evanston residents who attended Thursday’s meeting expressed displeasure with the ratio.

“There’s a need for developers to allocate … the full 10 percent within their building, rather than contributing money to the housing fund,” Evanston resident Alan Factor told The Daily. “Especially when you’re talking about senior housing.”

Braithwaite, whose ward encompasses the proposed site, told The Daily he would prefer Trammell Crow Company designate all 17 units as affordable housing. Grady Hamilton, a managing director at Trammell Crow Company, said the 25 percent ratio was not set, nor is their timeline for submitting a proposal to the city.

“It’s something to talk about,” Braithwaite said. “Seven hundred to 900 dollars falls within a very good spot for some of our seniors. … I think I’m going to be pushing for the maximum amount (of units).”

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Twitter: @noracshelly