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Evanston commissioners vote against 13-story downtown office tower

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The project faces an uncertain future

A rendering of 1714-1720 Chicago Avenue.
City of Evanston

A 13-story office building proposed for downtown Evanston faces an uncertain future after the city’s Plan Commission voted 4 to 1 against the development.

The commissioners rejected the 127-foot-tall proposal from R2 Companies, T2 Investments, and Paul Janicki Architects based on design concerns and lack of public benefits in exchange for the requested zoning variations, according to Evanston Now.

Slated to replace a city-owned parking lot at the 1700 block of Chicago Avenue, the development would have brought an estimated 500 jobs to the area. City officials entered an agreement to sell the parcel to the development team for $4 million, but that deal is contingent on the project earning approval.

Without a formal recommendation from the Plan Commission, the office project will face an uphill battle if and when it goes before the city’s Design and Project Review Committee, Planning and Development Committee, and full City Council for a vote.

Evanston residents and aldermen have been vocal in their opposition to recent high-rise developments. Last year aldermen voted down a 33-story tower proposed for 601 Davis Street. The developers behind a 37-story building slated 1700 block of Sherman Avenue decided it was best to preemptively withdraw their plans before reaching a vote.