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2 Portage Park Starbucks Proposals Up For Approval This Week

By Alex Nitkin | May 17, 2017 5:59am
 The Starbucks planned at 4151 N. Cicero Ave. would include an outdoor patio and a
The Starbucks planned at 4151 N. Cicero Ave. would include an outdoor patio and a "public space" with benches.
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PORTAGE PARK — After months of debate, two separate proposals to build Starbucks coffee shops with drive-thrus in Portage Park are expected to get the green light for construction on Friday.

The first coffee shop due for consideration by the Zoning Board of Appeals would be built at 4151 N. Cicero Ave., at the northern edge of the Six Corners Shopping District.

Planned in the former satellite parking lot for the now-closed Family Fruit Market, the shop would a single driveway for cars to enter the property from Berteau Avenue. An outdoor "public space" with benches would face Cicero Avenue, alongside a patio with room for more than a dozen tables, according to the site plan.

Developer Baum Revision intends to plant 13 new trees on the property, along with "extensive vegetative screening" to separate the drive-thru lane from a cluster of single-family homes just east of the site, according to Owen Brugh, the chief of staff for Ald. John Arena (45th).

Arena had asked the developer to include the outdoor pedestrian areas as a condition for his support of the required zoning permit, Brugh said in March. The alderman hopes the patio can be a canvas for a "public art feature," he added.

A plan released by the architect for the project includes "suspended artwork" and a large sculpture.

Meanwhile, one mile west of Six Corners at the intersection of Irving Park Road and Central Avenue, a proposal to fill a long-vacant lot with a Starbucks and a 7,245-square-foot office building is poised to overcome a drumbeat of neighbors' complaints to win the board's approval on Friday.

The project had been set for approval at last month's meeting, but the developer decided to delay the hearing to give city transportation officials more time to study the buildings' potential impact on traffic, according to Ald. Nicholas Sposato (38th).

Since unveiling the plan last year, developer Sumac has faced continued resistance from members of the Portage Park Neighborhood Association, who say the project would pose a traffic safety risk by inviting drivers to make left turns off of two busy thoroughfares.

Association president Patricia Conroy said at a Monday night meeting the group is still collecting letters of opposition, which it plans to deliver to the board.

Owners of nearby coffee shops Portage Grounds and Perkolator Cafe have also raised alarms that the international chain's arrival could drive their independent shops out of business.

But multiple other groups, like the Portage Park Chamber of Commerce and the West Portage Park Neighbors Association, have been equally steadfast in their support for the proposal.

The West Portage Park Neighbors claimed credit last month for getting Sumac to agree to erect "no-left-turn" signs at the property exits, writing in an April 14 Facebook post that the promise "hopefully ... puts this issue finally to rest."

The commercial building and coffee shop would be built on a vacant lot at the corner of Irving Park Road and Central Avenue. [DNAinfo/Alex Nitkin]

The plan marks a 7,245 square-foot "commercial building" with a smaller "coffee shop with drivethru" next door. [Sumac]