NORWOOD PARK — Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st) plans to lift a ban on liquor stores in downtown Norwood Park after a new proposal to open a "high-end" wine and spirits store drew no opposition from nearby residents, a spokesman for the alderman said Wednesday.
The decision — which must be ratified by city officials — will allow Ken Patel to open Norwood Wine & Spirits at 6054-56 N. Northwest Highway.
"We're excited," said Chris Vittorio, Napolitano's chief of staff.
Patel, who also plans to open a hair salon in the same strip mall, said the stores would fill a hole in Norwood Park.
Patel — who along with his family owns a Subway franchise near Foster and Higgins avenues — said he expected the store to open in six to eight months after going through the complicated city permit process.
"It is going to be a good fit," Patel said.
Patel agreed to a host of legally binding restrictions designed to combat concerns that the store would create a nuisance in downtown Norwood Park, including closing at 10 p.m. during the week and 11 p.m. on weekends, Vittorio said.
The agreement also gives Napolitano the right to order the store to close at 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at his discretion, according to the restrictions.
The store would also be prevented from selling liquor for less than $5.99 as well as all malt beverages and those advertised as offering a high alcohol content at a low price, including fortified wine, according to the restrictions.
In addition, the store must have cameras recording its exterior 24 hours a day, and follow all city ordinances regarding signs, litter, lighting and require proper identification for those buying alcohol, according to the restrictions.
The proposed rendering of the store "blew us all away," Vittorio said, adding that it is exactly the kind of store Norwood Park needs.
Patel said he jumped at the chance to open a liquor store on Northwest Highway when the owner of the strip mall and Bill Assimakopoulos, who proposed opening a "high-end" liquor store there in February, could not reach an agreement on rent for the building.
There is a ban on packaged goods liquor licenses in the strip mall at Northwest Highway and Newark Avenue, which was built in 2014 near the Norwood Park Metra station.
The strip mall includes a recently opened cigar shop, an insurance office, a Subway sandwich shop and Mo Dailey's Pub and Grille, which serves beer, wine and liquor.
A restaurant serving brick-oven fired pizza is poised to open soon in the strip mall without a liquor license, Vittorio said, adding that the liquor store will give diners a close option to buy booze and bring it with them to the restaurant.
The packaged goods liquor license moratorium does not affect restaurants' ability to serve alcohol.
The moratorium on packaged goods liquor licenses has been in place along Northwest Highway between Raven Street and Neola Avenue since 2007, officials said.
A similar proposal for a liquor store was dropped a year ago after the owner balked at restrictions required by officials.
There are no other liquor stores in downtown Norwood Park. An application from the 7-Eleven in Norwood Park to sell alcohol in 2014 was rejected.
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