LAKEVIEW — It's West Lakeview's time to shine.
That's the prediction Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) made Thursday during a groundbreaking ceremony for the neighborhood's new Whole Foods Market at 3201 N. Ashland Ave.
Tunney said Lincoln, Ashland and Belmont "was once — outside of Downtown — the busiest retail corridor" in Chicago. The city's second-largest Whole Foods will kick start its revitalization, he said.
"Stay tuned, folks in our neighborhood, because there are a number of meetings about this intersection and how we're going to enliven" it, Tunney promised.
While it took months to get neighbors on board, both Tunney and Novak Construction executive Michael Kanzler said the resulting changes made for a stronger end product.
"The process was kind of long and painful ... looking back, it's the process that needed to happen, and it got us the best results," Kanzler said.
In February, Whole Foods announced its plan to move from 3300 N. Ashland Ave. up the street, with a 75,000-square-foot supermarket that would more than double the size of the current store.
Over the ensuing eight months, a vocal group of neighbors pushed for a more attractive street level facade and the addition of a park on the Melrose Street side of the building.
While concerns remained over increased traffic, West Lake View Neighbors gave the development their endorsement in a 50-19 vote, and digging on site began soon after.
Whole Foods is expected to be completed in spring 2017.
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