Evanston Burger King ends its reign as empty building gets demolished


Esther Lim/The Daily Northwestern

The construction site at the empty Burger King building in downtown Evanston. Real estate development firm Trammell Crow Company will develop the site into an 11-story building, with a mix of office and laboratory space.

Saul Pink, Assistant City Editor

Downtown Evanston’s Burger King has been dethroned.

The demolition of the empty Burger King building at 1740 Orrington Ave. began early Monday morning. The former fast-food joint will be developed into an 11-story mixed-use office building.

The building, which will be developed by Trammell Crow Company, a Texas-based real estate development firm, will include office and laboratory space. The ground floor will feature retail space, and the top floor will boast a fitness center and rooftop balcony.

The space also currently holds a three-story apartment complex at 1732-34 Orrington Ave., which will also be knocked down.

The project jumped through several hoops to gain approval from the city. Evanston’s Design and Project Review Committee and Land Use Commission passed the proposal in January.

The Planning & Development Committee approved the proposal in February, also rezoning the property from the D2 district to the D3 district. The D2 district supports traditional retail shopping, while the D3 district provides high density development. The change allowed the developers to go through with the project at its proposed 167-feet height. 

City Council gave the final green light for the project on March 14, amid a citywide push to rejuvenate the economy by building large-scale developments. 

Tramell Crow will contribute $310,000 to the city’s Affordable Housing Fund and $100,000 to the public transit improvement fund to address the possible impacts of the development on the Evanston community. 

Evanston’s Burger King shuttered its doors in December 2020. The original franchise opened in May 1976, according to The Daily’s archives. It was Evanston’s only 24-hour eatery from the early 1980s until January 2020, when it changed its hours to close at 2 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @saullpink

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