at Mobile Avenue and North Avenue closed at the end of May, despite a community effort to convince Walgreens to maintain the store. In a conference call with concerned residents from Oak Park and Galewood, and State Senator Harmon’s chief of staff, Walgreens promised to keep the property well-maintained and well-lighted at night to prevent it from becoming an eyesore and attracting crime.
The Walgreens internal real estate group is attempting to buyout their lease on the property which runs for another 4 ½ years. If they are unable to buy out the lease, Walgreens promises to work with the community to market the property actively to potential tenants the community would welcome.
If Walgreens is able to buyout their lease the California-based landlord will market the property. It is unlikely the landlord will have a commitment to protecting the neighborhood from negative uses of the property. For this reason, Alderman Graham has introduced an ordinance to zone this parcel residential at the community’s request. Property owners within 250 feet of the Walgreens property have received notices of the proposed zoning change. Residential zoning will give the community a chance to vet prospective tenants when they apply for a zoning variance (or possibly sooner, on an informal basis). Additionally, Ald. Graham introduced a liquor moratorium that applies to the property after she learned of community concern that it will become a liquor store. Unless they are appealed, both ordinances will go into effect by the end of July after the next City Council meeting.
The Northwest Side Community Coalition is seeking to put a referendum permanently banning alcohol sales at the property on the February ballot. In order to get the referendum on the ballot 192 petition signatures are needed. If you are a Chicago resident and would like to sign the petition please email Perry Abbasi at firstname.lastname@example.org.