Building of ‘Point at Six Corners’ targeted for spring; fate of proposed Starbucks on Cicero undecided
by BRIAN NADIG
Construction of the Point at Six Corners shopping center is expected to start this spring, while a proposal to build a Starbucks coffee shop at 4151 N. Cicero Ave. requires design changes if it is going to move forward, according to Alderman John Arena (45th).
Arena gave updates on area redevelopment projects at the Jan. 16 meeting of the Portage Park Neighborhood Association.
Plans call for an ALDI grocery store and a Ross Dress For Less clothing store to be the anchor tenants of the 100,000-square-foot Point development at 4747 W. Irving Park Road. Those stores will make up close to half of the center, which also will front the east side of Milwaukee Avenue.
Clark Street Real Estate, the project’s developer, hopes to have 70 percent of the site leased before the start of constriction in order to obtain more favorable financing terms but is preparing to build this spring even if additional tenants are not signed, Arena said.
The one-story retail center will include a rooftop parking deck, public art and several pedestrian-friendly amenities, Arena said.
The project will be located along a stretch of Milwaukee where on-street parking is being eliminated on one side of the street to allow for bike lanes. At the recommendation of the city Department of Transportation, about 90 parking spaces are being removed on Milwaukee between Addison Street and Irving Park Road.
Eventually the entire stretch of Milwaukee in the 45th Ward will have bike lanes, Arena said. Currently there are bike lanes north of the Kennedy Expressway, and plans call for bike lanes also to be installed on Milwaukee between Irving Park and Lawrence Avenue, but parking there will not be eliminated.
Meanwhile, the Starbucks would include a drive-through facility and would be located on a 20,000-square-foot parcel at Cicero and Berteau avenues which was used as an auxiliary parking lot for the former Family Fruit grocery store, 4118 N. Cicero Ave., where a Dollar Tree is opening.
Arena said that the proposal for the coffee shop resembles a suburban-style development and that he would not support the project unless the it has an urban feel, with the building situated along the front of the property. “Starbucks is very much a take it or leave it business,” he said. “There’s a lot of suburbs. Build it up there.”
Arena said that he hopes Starbucks would agree to changes but that longstanding efforts to maintain the district’s urban character should not be abandoned. “If you do it for one, you have to do it for the next guy,” he said. “It’s really in their (Starbucks’) corner.”
The developer feels that another popular retailer or restaurant could be attracted to the site given that 40,000 vehicles pass by it each day, Arena said. Starbucks also is looking at opening a shop at 5555 W. Irving Park Road in the neighboring 38th Ward.
Arena also reported that Condor Partners is seeking to demolish the vacant storefronts which it owners at 4047-55 N. Milwaukee Ave. even there is no redevelopment plan in place. Condor also owns vacant buildings at 4029-37 N. Milwaukee Ave., but there are no plans to demolish them.
Arena said that he has been frustrated with Condor’s inability to attract tenants to those properties and that Condor is being asked to work with the Six Corners Association to allow pop-up businesses and community events there if the storefronts are torn down.
The goal would be to use the vacant land in a manner which attracts foot traffic to the commercial district, Arena said. One creative option would be to allow businesses to operate out of cargo containers which would be temporarily placed on the site, and outdoor movies also could be shown there, he said.
Overall the Six Corners district is moving in the right direction with an impressive list of businesses opening this year, Arena said. Scheduled openings include Binny’s Beverage Depot and Retro Fitness at 4901 W. Irving Park Road, Culver’s restaurant at 4939-45 W. Irving Park Road and Fischman’s Public House at 4054-60 N. Milwaukee Ave.
The vitality of Six Corners may be best illustrated by the fact that Community Tavern, 4038 N. Milwaukee Ave., opened in 2015 and its owner is already planning to open a second restaurant in the same block, Arena said. “We are on a trajectory that we ought to be on,” he said.