As rent prices in Chicago continue to soar and people seek more affordable housing that still offers access to the city, new areas are emerging as popular places for professionals to find luxury housing for moderate prices

E2 in Evanston, Ill.
E2 in Evanston, Ill., will compete with Chicago's rising rents.

Evanston, Ill., home of Northwestern University, is no longer simply a student and faculty destination. Professionals seeking cheaper rents are taking interest in the suburb. Developers Fifield Cos. and Carroll Properties are completing the downtown area's first rental high-rise in over a decade, according to a news release.

The new apartments, E2, will provide 356 units of luxury housing in downtown Evanston. The two-tower community will be connected by a four-story parking deck and amenity space with a top-floor pool area complete with views of Lake Michigan.

Randy Fifield, vice chair and principal at Chicago-based Fifield, says the community’s development was carefully planned to include touches to help make living easier at more affordable rents.

The average effective rent in Chicago was $1,116 in the fourth quarter of last year, according to New York–based research firm Reis. That's a 0.4% increase compared with the third quarter.

“I always call it smart living because when you look at the people that get to live at E2, their money goes really far. They’re able to have a full-size gym, a clubroom, a test kitchen where chefs come in, and a whole slew of social programs and authors for less than you would pay [in Chicago].”

The design team even considered how some professionals prefer not to battle with Chicagoland’s brutal winters. So, the interiors of the units, Wi-Fi connections, and meeting rooms were designed to be productive for residents to work.

“We build for life and balance,” Fifield says. “You can work from home, you can still go to the gym or a club meeting. You can fit it all in. You don’t have to leave in a snowstorm to have access to a computer that works.”

The buildings are also equipped with the latest and greatest tech features. Each apartment unit will have built-in Bluetooth audio systems, and the buildings will feature electronic access.

The building broke ground in October 2013, and the first residents are expected to move in sometime in March.