Downtown Evanston continues its march toward density with the ceremonial groundbreaking of E2 at 1890 Maple Avenue.
The 16-story, 368-unit apartment building has actually been under construction for quite some time, with its 120 caissons already poured into the sandy lakeshore soil. On Tuesday (October 9, 2013), the developers, architects, bankers, and other associated parties gathered under a tent for Slide Ride hamburgers and formally kicked off the project.
The building is being developed by friends-of-the-blog, Fifield Companies, along with Carroll Properties. When originally proposed, it was called Carroll Place and involved 342 apartments in two L-shaped buildings, one rising 18-stories. Like any large project, it faced serious opposition from local NIMBY groups, but it was the recession that ultimately killed Carroll Place.
Fifield, flush with cash from recent sales of some of the residential skyscrapers it built in K Station in Chicago, came up with the $100 million of the $148 million needed to put the project back on track. Thus, the name was changed to “E2,” mimicking the name of Fifield’s most recent tower in Chicago, K2.
Fifield vice chair Randy Fifield describes the project as “smart living” aimed at young professionals and empty nesters. “You can literally sell your North Shore home, and live in this maintenance-free environment for less than the tax bill [on your former home]. Or you can start your career here at E2 being nurtured. The choice is yours.”
Evanston Alderman Ann Rainey noted at the groundbreaking that there was opposition to the project. “It took the City of Evanston and some of our colleagues a little longer than the average bear to come around.”
Just like in Chicago, people who live in high rises that block other people’s views often object when it is their view that are imperiled. More broadly, Evanston as a city is having an uneasy time as its downtown transitions from suburban to urban status with more and more people choosing to live in the city’s commercial core. But as Fifield president Steven Fifield, notes, the world has changed.
“It’s a superior kind of living,” says Fifield president Steven Fifield. “Renting is no longer a thing that you’re ashamed of doing. It’s a preferred lifestyle. It gives people more flexibility.” He says the apartments he’s offering have higher-end finishes and amenities than were typical in condominiums that hit the market just five years ago.
For those who want the benefits of downtown living, but need a little more space, the project also has a dozen townhouses.
E2 will rise 165 feet on what has been called the largest undeveloped plot of land in downtown Evanston. It was formerly the location of a brown, three-story office building. It’s über transit-friendly, with abundant nearby and adjacent bus service, and both Metra and CTA service just blocks away.
Back in its Carroll Place incarnation, this project was two mostly-independent towers. Architect Mike De Rouin, of FitzGerald Associates in Chicago, says that efficiency was the result of combining what was a condo building and an apartment building into a single apartment building.
“The parking’s more efficient. The building amenities are all combined so they can be shared amongst everyone who live here. And by having the combined roof deck we actually have more amenity space than we had in the past.
“Definitely much more energy efficient than previously conceived. New energy codes demand it.
“The whole composition of this new building is much better. It’s cohesive. And it’s got a great, modern detail that’s running through the whole project. It’s consistent. I think it’s much better sited on the block that it’s going to anchor here at the north end of downtown.”
- Party room
- Basketball court
- Washer and dryer
- Very transit-friendly
Updated October 9, 2013 @ 12:44pm with the press release below:
Fifield Cos. and Carroll Properties Break Ground on E2
Two-tower, 356-unit luxury apartment project first high-rise in downtown Evanston since downturn; will include 12 rental townhomes
EVANSTON, Ill. (October 9, 2013) – Co-developers Fifield Cos. and Carroll Properties have broken ground on E2, a 356-unit luxury apartment project in downtown Evanston, Ill.
“This will be a landmark development for the North Shore and will provide a new luxury lifestyle that has no peer in this market,” said Randy Fifield, vice chair and principal at Fifield Cos. “Evanston is a unique, dynamic city that caters to a very diverse, well-educated population. E2 will appeal to a large swath of residents and will be a viable option for a multi-generational clientele in different stages of their careers and life.”
The development will consist of two buildings at 1881 Oak Ave. and 1890 Maple Ave. in downtown Evanston. The property at 1881 Oak will be 16 stories and 1890 Maple will consist of 14 stories. The buildings will be connected by a four-story structure that will include three floors of parking and a fourth-floor amenity deck. The majority of the development will be luxury rentals, but the property will also offer 4,000 square feet of ground floor retail space and 12 street-level, three-bedroom townhomes along Emerson Street. The three-story E2 townhomes range in size from 1,600 square feet to 1,750 square feet and have three bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, and a third-floor outdoor deck.
“New construction townhomes are a unique and underserved product in today’s rental market,” said Steve Fifield, chairman and CEO of Fifield Cos. “There is pent-up demand for rental townhomes of this size, especially in a prime location like Evanston. They are the only new-construction rental townhomes in this area and will be a great option for families in need of a rental.”
Apartment tower units at E2 will range from 500-to-1,300 square feet and offer studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom layouts. Amenities in both products will be top-flight in keeping with Fifield’s current luxury apartment developments in downtown Chicago. Units will come equipped with quartz countertops, plank floors, stainless steel appliances, in-unit laundry, oversized windows and high-end lighting and plumbing fixtures. The residences at E2 will also be appealing to the high-tech crowd, as each unit has a built-in Bluetooth audio system and electronic access control.
E2’s amenity deck will be open to residents of both towers and the townhomes and will offer a full-size sports court, state-of-the-art fitness center, lounge area, theater, business center with conference room, coffee bar, and an outdoor pool and spa with cabanas and grills. Biking enthusiasts will feel at home at E2 as well, with the building’s ample bicycle storage area and “bike kitchen,” which offers residents space and supplies for quick repairs.
“No other rental property in Evanston will be able to compete with the amenities that E2 has to offer,” said Randy Fifield. “As our developments in Chicago have proven, people are drawn to buildings that promote and encourage an active lifestyle. In this market, we expect E2 to be an attractive option for everyone from young professionals and empty nestors seeking a more urban lifestyle, to families and students.”
Located on the north side of Evanston’s downtown area, E2 will be within walking distance to dozens of dining, shopping and entertainment options. From May through November, the Evanston Farmer’s Market will be held every Saturday in a property adjacent to the building. Residents will also have immediate access to all of the cultural amenities provided by nearby Northwestern University’s campus.
“People of all ages have been drawn to our rental towers in Chicago, many of them from the North Shore,” said Steve Fifield. “This will be a great opportunity to give North Shore residents what they want, but closer to home—a luxury lifestyle without the commitment of owning a home.”
Public transportation offers residents convenient access to the City of Chicago, as the development is within a two-block walk to the Foster stop on the CTA’s Purple line and three blocks to the Davis Street station that services both Metra trains and the CTA’s Purple line.
FitzGerald Associates Architects has been retained as the principal architect for the project, while Evanston-based Morgante Wilson Architects will be the interiors architect and will design three models for E2.
Fifield Companies is one of the nation’s premier developers of urban office towers, luxury high-rise rental apartments. Established in 1977, Fifield has earned a reputation for creating superb living and office environments in some of the country’s most renowned locations, including Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, Las Vegas and Honolulu. Fifield has completed more than 50 projects in the United States worth more than $4 billion. For more information, visit www.fifieldco.com.