One of the busiest corners in Evanston is about to become one of the biggest construction zones in the city.
The intersection of Chicago and Main will soon be the home of the Chicago + Main Mixed Use Building project, a nine story building that will hold 112 upscale rental units above retail outlets and office spaces. Located at 835 Chicago Avenue, this project is developed by Atlantic Realty Partners and Riverside Investment & Development Company. The general contractor, Power Construction Company, has done extensive work in Evanston including the Mather LifeWays Home and Northwestern’s new admissions office and music building.
On a cold winter night in late February, more than 60 Evanston residents gathered to discuss this project at the Third Ward meeting at Hemenway United Methodist Church, according to SEA President Sheila Sullivan, who attended the meeting.
“I was very surprised by the number of attendees on such a frigid night,” Sullivan said. “They were spilling out of the room.”
Representatives from Power Construction described the project and the four phases it would take over the course of 16 months, ranging from mobilization to installing the exterior skin and interior build-out. The project is expected to be done by June 2016, according to Power’s project manager Jerry Winchester.
At the meeting, residents expressed concern about many issues, primarily that the project would reduce the already scarce parking. During construction, four metered spots on Chicago Avenue and seven metered spots on Main Street will be removed. Additionally, residents expressed concern that construction workers would be parking on residential streets and limiting space that way.
In response, project managers said they have installed a rule requiring the Power employees and all subcontractors to carpool, use public transit, park in the nearest city garage, or in the lot at 935 Chicago Avenue.
“They brief all of their workers on parking rules,” Sullivan said. “They said they’re very strict about that – if they find a violation of the parking rule, the person will be immediately removed from the project.”
Residents were also concerned about noise and traffic congestion – a city ordinance governs that construction hours can only be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on some Saturdays. Power said that construction will generally occur from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on some Saturdays. Whether this will be a problem will be measured when the project gets underway beginning in April.
Alderman Melissa Wynne urged residents to call Evanston’s non emergency number, 311, if they have any questions or concerns during this project. Mr. Winchester also encouraged residents to call him to report the license plate number of any vehicles violating the parking rule or of any trucks idling in the streets or alleys.