Amazon Fresh, Panera Bread, Burlington announced as tenants for Peoples Gas site at Six Corners, but area groups, planning dept. critical of proposed center’s design
by BRIAN NADIG
An Amazon Fresh grocery store, a Panera Bread restaurant with a drive-through facility and a Burlington coat/clothing store have been announced as tenants for the proposed “Shops at Six Corners” center on the former Peoples Gas site at 3955 N. Kilpatrick Ave.
It would be the first Amazon grocery store built in Chicago, although the company does operate Amazon Go convenience stores in the Loop. The grocery store, which would measure about 40,000 square feet, would be located near the east side of Kilpatrick, across from an Aldi grocery store that is planned for the west side of Kilpatrick (at Milwaukee Avenue) as part of a separate development.
In all, 10 to 14 commercial tenants are planned for the former Peoples Gas site, and, in a recent expansion of the project, an adjacent commercial parcel on Milwaukee would be acquired to accommodate the construction of a residential building with up to 36 apartments. The development, which previously did not include a residential component, requires a zoning change.
GW Properties, the project’s developer, announced the prospective tenants at a virtual meeting with about a half-dozen community and business organizations on Friday, April 9.
The city Department of Planning and Development has been critical of the project’s design, and it’s not clear if the recent revisions would be enough to win over the support of the department.
In addition, Alderman James Gardiner (45th) said that he has not decided whether to support the project.
“Progress is being made, but more discussions are needed,” Gardiner said this week. “We are trying to get a development that would be in the best interests of the community.”
Earlier this year the Old Irving Park Association, Six Corners Association, Portage Park Neighborhood Association, Old Irving Pointe Homeowners Association, Old Irving Park Basecamp Homeowners Association and Six Corners Organizing for Progress and Engagement issued letters in opposition to the proposal.
Community groups have criticized the project as being too auto-centric due to the large surface parking lot which would be in the middle of the center. The Amazon and Burlington stores would be located in the rear of the center, with smaller businesses along Irving and Kilpatrick.
In the Jan. 22 letter to the developer’s attorney Sara Barnes, the department said that it would be withholding its support unless “significant” revisions are made.
The department called for the elimination of a planned curb cut on Irving Park, stating that access to and from the site should be limited to Kilpatrick, which also will be used to access the parking for the 10-story senior living complex under construction at 4715 W. Irving Park Road.
Other department recommendations included the addition of apartments to the development and the construction of a multi-level parking stricture in order to minimize the amount of surface parking.
A resident who participated in the April 9 meeting said that the revisions did not address many of the concerns previously expressed by the community. “They really didn’t change anything. They just added this one (residential) building,” she said, adding that many residents prefer the apartments be above the stores and not isolated on an adjacent parcel.
The resident also said that the driveway on Irving Park remained part of the project. The city Department of Transportation frowns on having curb cuts on main thoroughfares in an effort to bolster pedestrian safety.
During it April 9 presentation, GW listed several “project highlights,” including the following:
“High quality urban design and construction throughout the project. Unique materials with consistent design elements for each building, including the use of Chicago bricks.
“(Also), large well-designed outdoor spaces that encourage the community to gather. Located at the corner of Irving Park and Kilpatrick and at Milwaukee at Kilpatrick, (the public plazas) are meant to attract patrons and local residents. The development team will work with the city of Chicago and local groups on incorporating desired design elements such as landscaping, seating (both for the space and adjacent to proposed restaurants), wall murals, art exhibit, neighborhood signage and events.”
GW also is seeking to have a Divvy bike share station as part of the project.