The 1700 block of Central Street was from the 1930s through 2007 the site of the Evanston Theater (originally known as the Stadium Theater), and also the Evanston II (collectively, the Cinema 5 Theaters), as well as a number of smaller businesses and a small, historic cottage. As of 2006 the property was zoned B2, a business district designed for older, pedestrian oriented shopping areas, with maximum height of 45' and maximum floor area (to lot size) ratio of 2.0. The movie theaters closed in approximately 2000.
About half the block was acquired for private redevelopment as The Eastwood of Evanston, a condominium mixed-use project. In 2006 the developers submitted a plan for a 5-story, 55-unit, 57'-high condominium building with an FAR of 2.27. The project proposal encountered heated neighborhood opposition over such matters as size, density, active storefront use, parking, and alley width, issues that had come up in other projects along Central Street as well as elsewhere in Evanston. After numerous hearings and meetings the developers submitted a modified 4-story, plan, 48' high with 51 units. Although the Plan Commission rejected it, it was approved by the City Council. In 2007 the existing structures between 1700 and 1722 Central were demolished.
The project controversy contributed both to the formation of the Central Street Neighbors Association and to the recognition of need for an overall zoning planning process and re-write.
As the real estate market collapsed in 2007-08, pre-sales for the project sputtered. The developers requested multiple extensions of time for groundbreaking and applying for a building permit, and eventually shut the sales office. As of fall, 2011, the site remained vacant, but the developers began steps for a new project, an apartment building.
This page, part of our Development "book," is intended to create an archive of information on this website and elsewhere related to the site and/or the project. Please e-mail us with suggestions.
Cinema Treasures | Evanston 5 Theaters (external site)
1700 block of Central St. (January 2007)
Summary of Central Street Plan Zoning Ordinances (2/18/2008)
Trains, Condos, and Automobiles (6/2/2008)
Eastwood Developers Ask City for 2 More Years (10/26/2008)
Vacant Lot at 1700-1722 Central (4/15/2009)
CITY GUARANTEES GREEN SPACE (4/15/2009)