LAKEVIEW — A grocery store at the proposed new development at the corner of Belmont and Clark will likely be small and offer lots of "freshly prepared foods," the developer said.
David Blitz of BlitzLake Capital Partners told Hawthorne Neighbors last week that a grocery store in the planned building at 3200 N. Clark St. will likely be a "fresh market" with lots of fresh produce and freshly prepared foods.
He could not name specific retailers due to non-disclosure agreements but said the final choice would in the same vein as places Downtown such as Mrs. Green's, a boutique natural foods market that opened in Lincoln Park at 555 W. Webster Ave. last year.
"We're talking smaller," said Larry Silver, a partner on the project. "Not a Whole Foods. Not a Mariano's. A local store that will serve the community."
That said, there's been a "high level of interest" from companies both big and small, Blitz said.
Developers have long said they'd like a grocery store tenant for the $50 million project, a 10-story building with 110 apartments, 74 parking spaces and two floors of retail. It has been unclear what kind of store.
Some residents have raised questions on whether a grocery store will need more parking, but the grocers themselves don't want more than 30-36 spots due to the high density of the area, said Howard Hirsch, architect for the project.
"This is located half a block from one of the busiest Red Line stations in the city," Blitz said. "The overall demand we're seeing for parking is less, according to the broker community."
Several residents of Hawthorne Neighbors commended the level of parking, saying offering more would encourage people to drive and bring unneeded traffic to the neighborhood.
Overall reception to the development from neighborhood groups since BlitzLake scaled back the project has been positive.
"It's turning out to be a slam dunk," resident Adam Rosa said.
Plans for the project, which have been circulating neighborhood groups since the fall, will be presented at another meeting open to the entire ward before it goes in front of the city Plan Commission.
Developers hope to go in front of the commission in May. Once approved, it will take 14-16 months to build completely. Retail shops could open within 10-12 months of construction starting, Blitz said.
They're also talking to other retailers but cannot reveal details due to non-disclosure agreements, Blitz said. It's too early in the process for them to define terms, which would be the next step in the process, he said.
But there's been a "high level of interest" from non-grocer small businesses and national retailers, too, he said.
"It's about finding the right grocer that fits in with the community, as well as small local businesses," he said, "To have a right mix of tenants."