Surveys differ in support of shopping center
by BRIAN NADIG
Two recent surveys on the redevelopment of the former Peoples Gas site at 3955 N. Kilpatrick Ave. show support for a shopping center on the 6-acre parcel, but some residents want the project to include pedestrian-friendly amenities including an outdoor area for performance art and not so much emphasis on parking.
A conceptual plan for the proposal, which would require a zoning change, shows that the center would be anchored by a 40,000-square-foot grocery store and that it would include several stand-alone retail buildings and a possible second floor of shops or offices in the rear of the site. About 800 parking spaces also are planned.
In a survey conducted by the Six Corners Chamber of Commerce, 450 of the 539 respondents said that they "strongly support" or "support" a retail center on the site. About half of the respondents said that they do most of their shopping (not including grocery) at local small businesses.
The Old Irving Park Association, the Six Corners Association, the Portage Park Neighborhood Association, the Old Irving Pointe Homeowners Association and Six Corners Organizing for Progress and Engagement sponsored another recent survey.
It had 529 respondents.
About half of the respondents said that they "strongly prefer" a pedestrian-friendly center with dedicated, public green space. In addition, the results indicated that residents feel that the center’s current design places too much emphasis on parking and that there needs to be community meetings on the project.
Most respondents said that they prefer independently owned businesses to big-box retailers or would like to see a blend of national and local businesses.
The results of both surveys have been shared with the project’s developer, GW Properties.
The project’s leasing agent, Mid-America Real Estate Group, has released a conceptual rendering of the project as part of a marketing plan for the site, which was downzoned to RS-3 in 2003. RS-3 is intended primarily for single-family homes and two-flats.
Alderman James Gardiner (45th) did not want to comment on the results of the surveys.