Bank, restaurant on tap
by BRIAN NADIG
A new bank building near Elston Avenue and Pulaski Road and a possible fast food restaurant near Foster Avenue and Northwest Highway are among Northwest Side development projects.
First Chicago Bank and Trust, 4343 N. Elston Ave., is planning to construct a new facility on a vacant parcel at 4325 N. Elston Ave. The new complex will include retail space in addition to the bank, and a new driveway is being sought for the project, according to Manuel Galvan, a spokesman for Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th).
The existing bank, which once was the headquarters of Labe Bank, will remain open during construction, but plans call for the two-story structure to eventually be demolished to make room for an undetermined redevelopment project, Galvan said. He said that Laurino has been urging the bank to build a new facility in an effort to help revitalize the area, as the current facility is almost 100 years old and in need of repairs.
The vacant parcel measures approximately 16,000 square feet and adjoins a parking lot for the bank. The B3-2 zoning of the site permits banks but requires a special use for a drive-through facility.
Meanwhile, a developer has expressed interest in constructing a Wendy’s restaurant on the site of the unoccupied Gladstone Plaza shopping center, 5218-36 N. Northwest Hwy. Previous tenants at the 37,000-square-foot center, which has been vacant for several years, have included a Goodyear Tire store and Popeye’s Chicken, Burger King and Thai restaurants.
Alderman John Arena (45th) reported at a recent meeting of the Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce that all of the existing buildings on the site would be demolished and that Wendy’s would be the sole tenant. Arena said that no formal proposal for the project has been made and that Wendy’s also is considering other sites in the area.
A zoning change could be required for a redevelopment project on the site, which is zoned for manufacturing uses, Arena said. Over the years tenants in the plaza have complained about the difficulty of vehicles making left turns to and from the center due to heavy traffic in the area.
Also in the 45th Ward, Portage Theater owner Eddie Carranza has hired a real estate company to oversee the redevelopment of the theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave., and several other buildings that Carranza owns in the block.
A new operator for the theater, which Carranza closed several months ago, has not been found, but a restaurant tenant has been lined up for one of the vacant storefronts across from the theater, according to Joe Houlihan, an associate with the Paine Wetzel real estate company.
lans are being made to purchase a digital projector so that first-run movies can be shown at the theater on days that live performances are not scheduled, Houlihan said.