EVANSTON, IL-The 909 Davis Building, a six-story office/retail complex inDowntown Evanston, a suburb on Chicago’s north border, has broken ground.Mesirow Stein Real Estate Inc. is developing the project, which will beanchored by the secondary school publishing division of Houghton Mifflin, McDougal Littell Inc.

The building will house 350 employees from McDougal Littell, which willoccupy all but 56,000 sf of the 200,000-sf complex. About 10,300 sf of thebuilding is dedicated to retail space on the first floor. It has been soldto Church Street Plaza LLC, an affiliate of Arthur Hills & Co. LLC (AHC) ofNorthbrook. A spokesperson for Mesirow Stein told GlobeSt.com thatnegotiations are currently under way for the retail space.

According to Richard Stein, senior managing director, Mesirow Stein RealEstate, the project has been designed with public transportation as a keyfocus of the project. “The master site plan for the 909 Davis Building ismost significantly influenced by the transit-related activities it isdesigned to accommodate,” says Stein.

The site is defined on the east by a Chicago Transit Authority rail stationand on the west by a Union Pacific Metro commuter station and theircorresponding rail lines, Stein points out. Church Street marks thenorthern border of the 1.79-acre site.

The southern portion of the site is bounded by Davis Street and features acul-de-sac that provides for rail passengers arriving and departing thestations by car. “This multi-modal interface is a key feature of the newdevelopment,” says Stein.

The Chicago-based architectural firm of OWP&P Architects Inc. designed thebuilding with two identities. The south elevation is oriented to thevehicular entry from Davis Street, where its identity as the officeheadquarters of McDougal Littell is established.

Fernando Araujo is the project architect at OWP&P. He sees the building’scivic space deriving its identity from the formal facade of the McDougalLittell headquarters, the railway berms with their passing trains and theunique landscaping and paving for the project.

The north elevation and retail space will front Church Street. There is aChurch Street Plaza project opening this winter which is creating anentertainment, retail and restaurant district adjacent to the 909 DavisBuilding. The developers see the north elevation becoming a component of this entertainment complex. Its retail identity will beemphasized by an architectural projection extending from the main portion ofthe building to the lot line.

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