This week's Crain's Chicago Business includes a brief blurb on developer Thomas Rozak's intention to construct a 38 story residential/hotel tower on Evanston's Fountain Square. The Square, consisting of a fountain, some trees, seating, and tall brick columns commemorating the city's war dead, is slowly being overwhelmed by new, high-density projects.
On one corner is Schipporeit-Heinrich Associates's 1969 Chase Building (originally First National Bank) 22 stories, and 277 feet high, and, according to Emporis, the first skyscaper in Evanston. Lead designer George Shipporeit, who also designed Lake Point Tower, created a tall classically Miesian shaft set off by a one-story, circular, glass-walled banking rotunda to the south. To its west is Daniel Coffey's Sherman Plaza, 25 stories, 276 feet, and currently nearing completion. In between is the classically simple, 5 story International-style Fountain Square building, a short stack between two tall bookends, set to be demolished for the Rozak project, which will soar above its two neighbors.
Evanston continues to be in the grip of a building boom. On still another Fountain Square corner is David Hovey's 2002 Optima Towers, 13 stories, 136 feet, with the the orange balconies that have become a Hovey trademark.
Chase Plaza includes a generous amount of open space and landscaping, but the newer structures tend to hog the lot lines. Fountain Square itself is set, not centrally, but off the northern edge of the intersection, and what should be a strong urban plaza is increasingly a limp, unfocused appendange to the buildings around it.
One of our readers submitted the following images for the project - a site plan, and a rendering. The tower is actually set off away from Fountain Square, to the north end of the site. Facing Fountain Square, itself, is a two-story retail structure which is so bland and generic that you can't help but wonder why they don't just incorporate the rather handsome international-style building already on that corner.