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Webster Square Getting New Mrs. Green's Natural Market

 A boutique grocer has agreed to lease space at the Webster Square Development site.
Webster Square
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LINCOLN PARK — The developer of the former Lincoln Park Hospital finally has found a grocer to fill a large retail space on the site that Fresh Market originally had agreed to lease.

Mrs. Green's Natural Market, a boutique grocery store that has locations in New York and Connecticut, will move into the former garage site at the hospital at Lincoln Avenue and Webster Street, according to Ald. Michele Smith (43rd).

Fresh Market was slated to be a cornerstone of the Webster Square redevelopment site, but the grocery store backed out of the lease in December 2011 due to loading dock restrictions put into place by Smith after a neighborhood backlash.

The new grocery store, which is set to open around Thanksgiving, will adhere to the planned development agreement and loading zone restrictions that pushed Fresh Market away from the space, Smith said.

Some of those concessions included banning semitrucks from Webster Street entirely and loading and unloading semis in a new spot on Lincoln Avenue, requiring the developer to build a large loading dock within the grocery store structure.

Not all neighbors of the former hospital site are pleased with the grocery store, especially a group of residents who pushed to return the land to its original low-rise residential zoning.

"The neighborhood lost," said Ed Burns, a longtime resident who led the opposition against retail at the site. "The extent of the loss was slightly mitigated, but it’s a loss."

Along with the grocery store, the Webster Square development will include about 120 condominiums, 75 apartments, eight homes and medical and professional office space.

Both the condominiums and apartments will be built into currently vacant former hospital buildings on Webster and will be LEED-certified for their environmentally sustainable construction practices, according to the developer's website.

Mrs. Green's Natural Market has nine New York locations and two Connecticut locations.