CITY HALL — Aldermen gave the green light to a proposal from Yeti, a Texas-based high-end cooler and camping gear company, to open a new store at 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave., the former home of the Double Door club.
The zoning change approved by the city’s Zoning Committee Tuesday would allow the company to hold gatherings in a planned small event space and sell drinks at a small cafe and bar, records show.
If approved Wednesday by the full City Council, the measure would reverse a zoning change pushed through by former Ald. Proco Joe Moreno (1st), who clashed with the owners of the famed club.
Ald. Daniel La Spata, who ousted Moreno in this year’s elections, praised the firm for working with his office and conducting a “transparent process” that included the community in developing plans for the store.
Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) said he would support the change because La Spata backed it, and he wanted to uphold the City Council’s tradition of aldermanic prerogative. That practice gives aldermen the final say on issues in their ward.
“However, this breaks my heart,” Hopkins said. “I saw Poi Dog Pondering there in the ‘90s.”
The 11-units above the store would remain unchanged if the proposal is approved, records show.
On June 5, the Wicker Park Committee, a neighborhood group, voted 26-2 to approve Yeti’s proposed zoning change. La Spata attended the meeting.
One member told a Block Club reporter she voted “yes” instead of “no” only because Yeti executive Doug Schmidt promised neighborhood leaders that he would attempt to keep the Double Door Liquors sign in place. Hours after the vote, however, building owner CA Ventures shocked the neighborhood when it removed the sign from the property.