Fresh Thyme is a farmers-market inspired grocery chain sprouting across the Midwest but based in Phoenix. The chain plans to open 50 stores over the next six years, including locations in 12 Midwest states, according to the Fresh Thyme website.
Fresh Thyme is considering opening one of those stores at Montrose and Clarendon avenues in Uptown, the same spot where a more than $200 million housing and retail development is being proposed by JDL Development.
Fresh Thyme "said they might be interested in coming in there,” said Cappleman's chief of staff Tressa Feher. She emphasized that “everything is very up in the air now,” and said she couldn’t comment on any potential tenants in the space.
“All I know is that there’s interest,” she said.
The controversial JDL plan includes about 26,000 square feet of retail space, possibly for a grocer to fill, and asks for a $14 million tax increment finance subsidy from the city, which is the source of most of the controversy.
Fresh Thyme president and CEO Chris Sherrell said in an interview with Newhope360.com that his company is "trying to make the natural lifestyle affordable to the masses," with the venture, and that most stores will be between 24,000 and 28,000 square feet.
The first Fresh Thyme grand opening is scheduled for spring in suburban Mount Prospect, according to the Fresh Thyme website.
Suburban Deerfield residents who live near the site of a proposed Fresh Thyme filed a lawsuit in November against the company, arguing that a grocery store close to their homes would hurt the value of their homes and their quality of life.
Both Fresh Thyme and JDL President James Letchinger didn't respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
The latest version of the JDL plan had been scheduled to be presented to the community at a meeting on Monday, but the alderman's office canceled the meeting because of the weather.