Building permit issued for coffee shop in area





by BRIAN NADIG

A building permit was issued this month to allow construction of a Starbucks coffee shop with a drive-through facility on the former site of a car lot at Northwest Highway and Harlem Avenue.

Plans call for the restaurant to be constructed near the southeast corner of the 27,000-square-foot parcel at 6340 N. Northwest Hwy., and a second commercial structure to be built at the northwest corner of the property closer to the Harlem-Northwest intersection. A cell phone business reportedly has expressed interest in leasing the second building.

Alderman Anthony Napolitano’s chief of staff Chris Vittorio said that the developer for the project, Lee Wolfson, reached agreement on a lease with Starbucks earlier this summer. The Zoning Board of Appeals approved a special use allowing the drive-through facility in June.

The permit issued on Aug. 2 allows construction of the shell of the building. A second construction permit will be required for work on the interior of the Starbucks.

Vittorio said that a second fast-food restaurant was considered for the property but that, due to concerns about parking and traffic, a retail store that draws less traffic than a restaurant may be better for the property.

Concerns have been expressed at meetings of the 41st Ward Zoning Advisory Committee that the popularity of Starbucks could lead to a backup on Harlem of vehicles turning into the site, with some cars stopping on the adjacent Union Pacific Northwest Line Metra railroad crossing. The site backs up to railroad tracks.

Vittorio said that motorists using the entrance on Harlem will be restricted to right turns to and from the site. A driveway also is planned for Northwest Highway.

Starbucks also have been proposed for sites at Cicero and Berteau avenues and at Irving Park Road and Central Avenue. Both shops would have a drive-through facility.

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