Mixed-income housing proposed for Hinman Avenue in south Evanston


A five story, 60 unit mixed-income housing development is being proposed on the south end of Hinman Avenue near the South Boulevard Purple Line station in a joint project between the city of Evanston and the Cook County Housing Authority.

The project, called South Boulevard Shores, is slated for 504-514 South Boulevard in an area that currently houses a reportedly underutilized municipal parking lot and four housing authority townhomes at the corner of South Boulevard and Chicago Avenue.

The municipal lot owned by the City of Evanston that is the proposed home of South Boulevard Shores, a mixed-income apartment complex.

The municipal lot owned by the City of Evanston that is the proposed home of South Boulevard Shores, a mixed-income apartment complex. (Alex Hulvalchick / Chicago Tribune)

Sustainability has also been considered for the project with a low carbon, all electric design with no fossil fuel use in the building.

According to Johana Casanova, senior vice president of project developers PIRHL, if all plans go smoothly, construction would begin in Spring 2024 with residents able to move in during Summer 2025.

Casanova said during a presentation to neighbors and city staff that the complex would be a mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments with parking available for residents and 20 spots for rent by others.

Several neighbors voiced their concerns, telling Evanston’s Economic Development Manager Paul Zalmezak that developers had reached out early in the process asking if they would be willing to sell their homes.

“I’m concerned because no one has come and talked to us,” Neighbor Doree Stein, who has lived in her home since 1986 after purchasing it with a HUD loan, said. “I’m concerned that the developer called once and also called my neighbor, Calvin, and never called us again. he just wanted to buy the places for a pittance.”

Casanova said the developer reached out in order to gauge interest in the event of possible expansion of the project, but that there are no current plans to purchase any property. Zalmezak also said that there will be no expansion as Calvary Catholic Cemetery was unwilling to sell land to the west and the driveway must remain on the east side of the complex.

“It doesn’t bode well, Johana, when the people that are being most impacted don’t know that,” Stein said.

Calvin Lynn, who has lived on South Boulevard since 1995, said he was concerned the height of the building would obstruct sunlight from reaching his home, leaving his property in the dark.

“It was weeds over here before. The trees, the bushes, there was nothing there but this rut,” Lynn said. “Now I’ve developed that and paid taxes on that for over 23 years and now that’s being taken away from me.”

Zalmezak assured Stein and Lynn that their homes will not be displaced, saying, “What you’ve seen tonight is kind of a pre-zoning site plan and rendering. There would be additional work that would need to be required before we submit for zoning analysis.”

While some homes would remain, those residing in the four townhomes owned by the county would be displaced.

Those residents will be offered moving assistance to either a rental unit with a housing voucher or another unit owned by the county in Evanston according to housing authority staff member Jesse Silva.

There are also plans to hire a relocation expert to handle the move who will meet with the households, assess their needs and where they would like to move.

“We pay for all moving expenses and costs,” Silva said. “It is very hands off from the perspective of the household. We are required by law to provide all of these services and this assistance.”

The project is still in its very early stages with next steps including continued community engagement, zoning and project assessment by the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

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October 22, 2022 at 10:44PM

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