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Wicker Park Trader Joe's Developer Meeting Raises Concerns

March 4, 2014 - The first meeting to discuss the proposal for Trader Joe's in Wicker Park was held with the school council for LaSalle II Elementary School and the developer; as LaSalle II Elementary School is located directly West of the site at 1148 N. Honore. The meeting, however, was defined as a public forum so all could attend at 6pm Monday March 3rd 2014.The atmosphere in the room was tense without question. The primary issues presented by school staff and others: additional traffic congestion, semi and delivery trucks and alcohol sales.

Yet developer Bill Smith presented his company's proposal for the new Trader Joe's in the former Miller Lumber site (1819 W. Division Street) with little fanfare. Plans include over 14,000 square feet for the specialty grocery store itself with additional commercial space available for other potential tenants. Two floors of parking accommodating over 70 cars would also be available. The store would open at 8am after classes for the elementary school begin. Approximately 19,000 visitors are expected per week.

photo credit: Curbed Chicago

Considerations at this time include: making Honore both a North and South bound street. (It's currently 1-way North bound) and widening the alley. Because of the size of the space needed for this type of retailer, no additional locations in the neighborhood are being considered at this time.

There are large issues to address as the project progresses like zoning and the liquor sales moratorium and many in the audience requested additional traffic studies to determine the overall impact to the neighborhood and surrounding areas. 

In addition, LaSalle II Elementary School is a magnet school. Approximately 50% of the students attending aren't local residents and must be driven to the school. As a result, parents picking up and dropping off their kids park on Honore.

If you have an opinion about whether or not Trader Joe's should be built in Wicker Park, we strongly encourage you to participate in these meetings so everyone can be heard. Your opinions and perspective are important. We'll keep you posted on additional meetings as they are announced.

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