Title: Evanston Approves 60-Unit Affordable Housing Development on South Boulevard
The city of Evanston’s Land Use Commission has given its conditional support to a proposed 60-unit affordable housing development on South Boulevard. The development, named “South Boulevard Shores,” aims to address the pressing need for affordable housing in the area. The project received a 5-1 and 6-0 vote in favor of recommending City Council approval for the planned development and a concurrent zoning map amendment.
The proposed development will be located at 504-514 South Boulevard, currently occupied by a city parking lot and four townhomes owned by the Housing Authority of Cook County. The project, a collaboration between the city and HACC, has been in the works since 2017. PIRHL Developers were selected for the project in February 2022, and community meetings were held to discuss the plans in October 2022 and August 2023.
“South Boulevard Shores” will consist of a five-story building with 60 housing units, ranging from one-bedroom apartments to two-story three-bedroom townhomes. Eighteen units will be rented through HACC’s Project-Based Vouchers program, ensuring affordable rents for low-income tenants. The remaining 42 units will be rented below market rates to households earning up to 80% of Cook County’s area median income.
During the hearing, PIRHL Senior Vice President Johana Casanova explained that the affordable rents are made possible through a Low-Income Housing Tax Credit awarded by the Illinois Housing Development Authority. This tax credit plays a crucial role in the project, as it directly impacts the variances PIRHL is requesting, including a 25% density increase and a building height exceeding the maximum limit.
While the majority of comments expressed support for the project, some residents raised concerns about the building’s high density in an already-dense neighborhood. Traffic congestion and parking availability were among the main worries. However, Casanova emphasized that any reduction in unit count would jeopardize the tax credit and overall project financing.
The approval from the Land Use Commission is an important step toward addressing Evanston’s affordable housing needs. The South Boulevard Shores development will provide much-needed affordable housing options for residents with various income levels. With careful consideration of the community’s concerns, the project aims to strike a balance between meeting housing demands and minimizing potential disruptions to the neighborhood.
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