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EVANSTON, IL-A $53-million proposal for 1567 Maple Ave. is too big for a property on the fringe of this North Shore suburb’s Downtown, according to the city’s plan commission. The city council will get a unanimous recommendation to reject a 165-unit condominium project pitched by Winthrop Properties, LLC, led by local developer Robert Horner.

Current zoning for the site, which now includes a two-story mixed-use building acquired last year for nearly $2.6 million, would allow for 96 units in a building no higher than 85 feet. Winthrop Properties hopes to construct a building 50% larger in mass than allowed under current zoning, as well as 220 feet tall.

“Unfortunately, the problem is, you have the wrong piece of property,” plan commission chairman Lawrence Widmayer told the development team, summing up the opinions of nine other members of the panel.

Other high-rise condominium and multifamily rental buildings continue to rise nearby, notes Michael DeRouin, project manager for FitzGerald and Associates, the developers’ architects. “The location of this building is an extension of the dense buildings being built in the center of town,” DeRouin argues.

Horner’s plans call for a building with a large number of one-bedroom units. However, he notes units could be combined by original buyers, with the pre-sale ultimately determining the unit mix. “The actual number will be less,” Horner says of the 165 units. “Whether it’s one less or 50 less is impossible to gauge pending the opening of sales.”

Otherwise, some plan commission members were impressed by the project’s proposed “green roof” topping the sixth floor. The project give Evanston its first LEED certified residential building as determined by the US Green Building Council, DeRouin says.

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