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Debate Over, Aldi to Open in Edgewater

By Dylan Heath of  The Urban Coaster

June 11, 2009 – After a period of sometimes heated community discussion, an Aldi grocery store is set to open in Edgewater.

Bill Platt of the Access Realty Group estimates that in about two months the store will take over half of the Clarovista condominium building’s ground-floor retail space.

Platt said there was a meeting with representatives from Aldi and about 200 people from the neighborhood.  At first there were concerns, but Platt stated that when Aldi explained their business concept the group reached what he called “a consensus.”

Edgewater citizens wanted to know “what kind of neighbor they’re going to be,” Platt said.

Edgewater resident John Redell said he is happy to have Aldi coming to the neighborhood, even if some others are not.

“Somehow some of our neighbors think Edgewater is too classy for this,” Redell said.  “Go to the intersection of Granville and Broadway and count the vacant store fronts,” he continued.  Some he said, have been vacant for years.

Instead of “thumbing their noses,” Redell said, Edgewater residents should be concentrating on the new jobs Aldi will produce.

Ald. Joe Moore (49th)  said Aldi is working “well with the office.”  He said they listened to requests made by the 49th Ward office, including using the layout of their new concept stores.

Aldi’s new store concepts are brighter, more open and sell more fresh produce,  Moore said.  He visited Aldi stores in the suburbs with the new store layout.

Although Moore said he is happy with Aldi being in the neighborhood, he also said “I would love to have a Trader Joe’s in the ward.”

He went on to say that he has “no doubt” that Edgewater residents would be able to sustain a store like Trader Joe’s.

Redell disagrees. “This isn’t 900 N Michigan, it’s Edgewater,” he said.

The commercial section of the Clarovista condo was going to be filled with a Staples.  Platt said that there was a sign date and a delivery date that wasn’t met because the city held it up.

Instead Access Reality Group is looking for a different retail store or restaurant to fill the other half of the ground floor.

The search is still on-going because of the economy. “The market continues to be soft,” Platt said. “[There is] not a lot of activity.”

The Clarovista, formerly known as The Granville according to Platt, is located on the corner of Broadway St. and Granville Ave. It’s a location that is just north of the dividing line between Chicago’s 48th and 49th Wards.

The office of Ald. Mary Ann Smith (48th) declined to be interviewed for this story, citing a policy of not commenting on matters happening in areas outside her ward.

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