Owner hoping retail center can connect to Weber trail
by BRIAN NADIG
The owner of a planned retail center at 4102 W. Peterson Ave. hopes that the development can be connected to the Weber bike and pedestrian trail which is being constructed on a former railroad embankment next to the site.
"The hope is I can get some stairs that lead down to this," developer Shai Wolkowicki of Shai Town Realty said at the April 18 meeting of the Sauganash Park Community Association. The trail will start near the intersection of Cicero and Sunnyside avenues and run in a northeasterly direction into the northern suburbs.
The 1.3-acre site, where a gas station closed several years ago, has undergone a $475,000 environmental remediation, Wolkowicki said. The demolition of a former veterinary clinic building at 4054 W. Peterson Ave. also is planned.
The retail center would include a Dunkin’ Donuts with a drive-through facility and two table-service restaurants, with several outdoor eating areas. Leases have not been signed for the other restaurants, Wolkowicki said.
A preliminary site plan for the project shows four one-story buildings, ranging in size from 1,600 to 3,500 square feet, and 73 parking spaces. Most of Dunkin’s customers would be expected to use the drive-through lane instead of parking their vehicle and walking inside, Wolkowicki said.
Three curb cuts along Peterson have been proposed, but one of them may be eliminated to allow for better traffic flow in front of the site, project attorney Anthony Casaccio said. All vehicles exiting the drive-through facility would be required to turn right onto Peterson, he said.
The Zoning Board of Appeals at its Friday, April 21, approved a special use request for the proposed drive-through.
Concerns were raised at the meeting that the doughnut shop would be open 24 hours and that there are too many Dunkin’ Donuts in the area, including one near Devon Avenue and Pulaski Road and another near Peterson and Kimball avenues.
Peterson-Pulaski Business and Industrial Council executive director Janita Tucker said that the project would not impact residential areas because commercial properties and a former railroad embankment border the site and that the redevelopment of the parcel is long overdue given its current unsightly condition.
"We have 3,000 employees who are literally starving for a good place to eat," Tucker said of the planned restaurants.
Association president Bill Morrissey said that residents could send e-mail concerns about the project to the association at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also at the meeting, guest speaker Breanne Schoonhoven of Corepower Yoga, 4124 W. Peterson Ave., said that the company has 160 studios in the United States and that one of the most popular classes takes place in a room with temperature of 100 degrees. "The heat is there to soften the muscles," she said.
Morrissey reported that the 75-year-old association recently held a community vote to choose a new logo, which will be featured on t-shirts and other promotional items. The logo features a rendering of the community’s namesake, Billy "Chief Sauganash" Caldwell.
Morrissey reported that 2,000 hot dogs were given away at the association’s Fourth of July celebration last year and that a new Halloween event attracted more than 50 people.
Also at the meeting, association members elected the Morrissey for president, Donald Morton for vice president, Carol Ransom for treasurer and Diane Pezanoski for secretary. The chairman is Bill Riordan.