After failed plan for Starbucks, car lot to remain at Irving-Central
by BRIAN NADIG
A recent proposal would allow for the outdoor storage and sale of cars at a 35,000-square-foot parcel at the southeast corner of Irving Park Road and Central Avenue, where a previous plan to build a Starbucks Coffee with a drive-through facility never materialized.
The property at 5535-55 W. Irving Park Road has been used for vehicle storage for years as a legally nonconforming use under the zoning code, and the proposed rezoning from B3-1 to C2-1 would bring the site into conformity, according to project attorney Mark Kupiec.
Alderman Nicholas Sposato (38th) said that Marino Chrysler Jeep Dodge, which currently stores vehicles on the parcel through a lease agreement, plans to acquire the property and make aesthetic improvements to the site.
The dealership wants to make sure the property is zoned properly before making the investment of purchasing it, Sposato said. An existing one-story building on the site would remain under the proposal.
In 2017, the Zoning Board of Appeals issued a special use to allow for the drive-through, but the developer later pulled the plug on the entire project, Sposato said. Plans had called for the Starbucks and additional retail space on the site.
Sposato said that the developer did not give him a reason for the project’s failure but that at the time there was opposition to the planned opening of the Starbucks. Some residents had expressed concerns about having a drive-through facility at such a congested intersection and said that Starbucks could drive nearby independent coffeehouses out of business.
Sposato said that he would have preferred having the Starbucks there instead of a car lot due to the site’s prime location at the “heart” of the Portage Park commercial area.
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