EDGEWATER — Business on North Broadway in Edgewater is booming.
In the last year, developers and entrepreneurs have erected buildings and opened restaurants at a quick pace, convincing Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) that "positive momentum" is growing.
"A lot of stagnant properties that have been empty for years are starting to move," Osterman said last week to nearly 100 area property managers and owners, who filled most of the tables at Mas Alla del Sol, Broadway's newest restaurant, to hear about the developments.
Osterman said he had courted Adan and Mirella Moreno, the owners of Mas Alla del Sol, by showing them last year the long-vacant building at 5848 N. Broadway.
They fell in love with the neighborhood, they said.
"I don't want the bureaucrats in City Hall slowing you down at all," the alderman told attendees last week. But he acknowledged that four-lane North Broadway in Edgewater "is a troubled street when it comes to traffic, when it comes to pedestrian experience," which can stifle the entrepreneurial spirit.
Yet many have not been deterred from investing, like Danny Beck, who won a zoning change to begin renovating the decrepit building at 5352 N. Broadway and open Pearl's, a barbecue joint with a rooftop patio, next year.
Recent developments in the past year on North Broadway:
• Starbucks demolished a former hot dog stand at 6350 N. Broadway last week to make way for a drive-thru and walk-up only shop made entirely of reused shipping containers. The mega-coffee chain plans to open in September.
• Bistronomic's Matt Fisher opened an upscale bar and grill, 63, in April, replacing Hamilton's, at 6341 N. Broadway. Loyola University bought the building from Hamilton's owners last year. Fisher renovated the building
• Walgreens tore down its old location and built a new pharmacy and grocery store at 6125 N. Broadway, which opened in July.
•LA Fitness began a gut renovation this summer of the former Hancock Fabrics building at 6101 N. Broadway. The gym chain plans to open by the end of the year.
• Developer Michael Nortman plans to demolish the Fair Muffler building this year at 6140 N. Broadway and and erect a Physicians Immediate Care health clinic in its place, according to Osterman.
• After two years of construction at 6000 N. Broadway, the new Edgewater Library opened in June. The two-story, $13.6 million library has been stocked with $500,000 of additional material.
• MB Financial Bank demolished a long-vacant building at 5930 N. Broadway this month and plans to erect a new branch building by spring 2014, according to Osterman.
• Mas Alla del Sol, at 5848 N. Broadway, is the strip's newest restaurant, serving such entrees as ensalada de verdolagas, a salad with a lime vinaigrette, and a Mexican lamb shank dish, marinated in a light tomato-chipotle sauce.
• Property owner Bob Gold announced plans in March to renovate a vacant building at 5427-37 N. Broadway and add three floors to an existing portion of the building that was formerly home to Pepitone's restaurant, which closed after a fire in 2008.
• The menu at soon-to-open Pearl's, at 5352 N. Broadway, includes smoked ribs, slow-cooked pulled pork, brisket, gumbo, jambalaya, chicken wings and tacos.
• Chody Real Estate plans to demolish the former Piser Funeral Home at 5206 N. Broadway. Chody principal Bart Friedman said he plans to erect a one-story, 20,000-square-foot building with retail space by next year.