The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Long-Vacant Gladstone Park Plaza to Be Renovated

  An immediate care clinic will be the renovated Gladstone Plaza's first tenant, Ald. John Arena said.
Gladstone Plaza Renovations
View Full Caption

GLADSTONE PARK — A weed-choked plaza that has long been a vacant eyesore at one of the busiest intersections on the Far Northwest Side will be renovated — and an immediate care medical facility will be its first tenant, officials said.

Immediate MD will occupy a 4,000-square-foot building on the plaza at Northwest Highway and Foster Avenue alongside the Kennedy Expressway, said Scott Goldman, a managing principal of Revision Real Estate Investment Group.

Two other storefronts at 5226-28 N. Northwest Highway have attracted a "significant amount" of interest from traditional retailers, Goldman said. The site is not being marketed to restaurants or fast-food chains, he added.

Heather Cherone explains how an empty lot became another wedge issue in the 45th ward aldermanic race:

Work on new facades, landscaping, fences and additional parking for Gladstone Plaza is set to start in six weeks, Goldman said.

The 37,000-square-foot site — which was most recently home to a Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits — has been mostly vacant for nearly a decade, and is marked by a 54-foot empty, crumbling sign that is visible from the Kennedy Expressway.

The shopping center was the subject of now-resolved litigation that kept it vacant for so long, Goldman said.

Revitalizing the strip mall along the border between Jefferson Park and Gladstone Park has also been difficult because the triangular parcel can be difficult to get into and out of when traffic entering or exiting the Kennedy Expressway backs up, said Owen Brugh, chief of staff to Ald. John Arena (45th).

"It is great to have something going in there," Brugh said, adding that nearly a dozen people suggested using money from Arena's discretionary budget during the last participatory budgeting process to spruce up the shopping center.

The vacant shopping center had threatened to become an issue in next year's 45th Ward aldermanic election.

Chicago Police Lt. John Garrido, who is running against Arena, posted pictures of the vacant, weed-choked shopping center on Facebook and noted it had been vacant since Arena took office.

A few weeks later, crews came out and cut many of the weeds on the property.

For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: