Planning and Development Committee greenlights proposed office building to replace former Burger King


Jacob Wendler/The Daily Northwestern

John Carlson, principal of Trammell Crow Company’s Midwest Business Unit, said Evanston needs top-grade office and laboratory space.

Jacob Wendler, Reporter

The proposal to replace Evanston’s former Burger King with a 10-story office building took another step toward passage Monday night. 

The city’s Planning & Development Committee voted unanimously Monday night to recommend City Council approve a proposal for a new 10-story mixed-use building at the intersection of Orrington Avenue and Clark Street. The proposal includes an amendment to rezone the space to allow for retail and office use.

Last month, both the city’s Design and Project Review Committee and its Land Use Commission passed the proposal.

The space includes a three-story apartment complex and a Burger King that closed its doors in 2020. The proposed development includes more than 100,000 square feet of office and laboratory space as well as retail space on the first floor and limited parking.

The Daily recently reported that, in an effort to rejuvenate the economy by bringing office workers downtown, the city has approved more than a dozen large-scale building developments over the past 18 months.

At the meeting, John Carlson, principal of Trammell Crow Company’s Midwest Business Unit, said there is high demand in Evanston for modern office space that can facilitate research and development. He said the new development presents an opportunity to replace a dilapidated fast food establishment with a hub for research and work.

“We’re excited to hopefully bring life to that corner and do it in a way that’s adherent to the stakeholders in the community,” Carlson said. 

While members of the Northwestern community have expressed interest in the high-quality lab space, Carlson said the development will not be affiliated with the University and will remain on Evanston’s tax rolls.

Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) complimented the building’s design. Despite her reputation for opposing new downtown developments, she said she found the proposal suitable for its site. 

“We’re bringing in a type of building that the city has been trying to get for at least eight or nine years,” Wynne said.

Ald. Devon Reid (8th) recommended changes to the public benefits included in the proposal, including a $65,000 toward installing a new Divvy bike-sharing station near the location.

Reid said that as someone who has experienced homelessness, he believes the funds would be better spent helping to address homelessness in Evanston. He said the former Burger King offered shelter and food to houseless members of the community. 

Before the developer can move forward with construction, the proposal must be approved by City Council, which is expected to take place sometime next month. If approved, the developer plans to start construction later this year with a finish line some time in early 2024.

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