WICKER PARK — After a year without being able to sell booze, the Wicker Park Target store will soon have its aisles stocked with beer and wine — if Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st) and neighborhood groups get their way.
La Spata introduced legislation Wednesday that would remove a packaged goods moratorium on Division Street put in place by former 1st Ward Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno in on Dec. 12, 2018. The moratorium prevents the sale of packaged liquor between Wood Street and Milwaukee Avenue.
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Wicker Park Committee members voted 23-5 to lift the latest moratorium last week after learning Target, 1664 W. Division St., wanted to sell packaged liquor, too.
The ordinance “was based on strong public support in the vote from WPC,” La Spata said in a text message Thursday.
Zack Kartak, a senior development manager for Target, explained to neighborhood leaders Moreno had promised Target he would eventually work to lift the packaged goods moratorium.
Moreno had re-instated the liquor sales ban after lifting a similar moratorium in September 2017 — a move that allowed boutique grocer Foxtrot to sell wine and beer at its Wicker Park location, 1722 W. Division St.
In 2017, Foxtrot’s CEO Michael LaVitola told members of the East Village Association about 20 percent of Foxtrot’s sales are beer, wine and liquor, Chicago Pipeline reported.
Wicker Park Committee leader Paul Dickman explained that Moreno made an agreement with Target that he would approve the store’s loading zone permit if they held off applying for a packaged goods license for one year.
This was to give more time for Foxtrot, a locally-owned business, to get off the ground. But 10 months later, Moreno reneged on the deal, and reinstated the moratorium, Dickman said.
“We’re kind of mopping up Joe’s mess today,” Dickman said.
Kartak said Wicker Park Target’s alcohol selection might include a 30-foot beverage aisle with a beer section on one side and wine and spirits on the other as well as a small selection of 375-milliliter “specialty items,” such as Grand Mariner, as well as seasonal beverages.
Of the 96 Target stores in Illinois, 83 sell alcohol, Kartak added. He was aware of only one other small-scale Target in Chicago that did not possess a liquor license.
La Spata’s ordinance was initially introduced to City Council on Wednesday. The proposal will head to the Committee on License and Consumer Protection before going to City Council for a final vote.
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