BUCKTOWN — The Stanley’s Fresh Fruits and Vegetables building in Bucktown was demolished this week — but it’s not clear yet what will replace the beloved Chicago grocery store.
Property owner Novak Construction demolished the building at 1558 N. Elston Ave. after receiving a demolition permit March 5, according to Department of Buildings records.
Jake Paschen, Novak’s executive vice president, told Block Club the company is currently marketing the site to “anyone who has an interest in the space,” whether that’s a commercial or residential developer.
“I think that the site could be used for a variety of uses,” he said. “We’re not focusing on any one use.”
Novak purchased the 45,877-square-foot lot for $8 million last year from the Peters family, the grocery store’s longtime owners.
Stanley’s is just west of Lincoln Yards, where developer Sterling Bay aims to create a 55-acre sprawling mega-development along the Chicago River within the Bucktown and Lincoln Park neighborhoods.
The April 2019 store closure took place just a few weeks after City Council approved $1.3 billion in subsidies for Lincoln Yards.
Because Sterling Bay had purchased nearby property — including Star Car Wash, a gas station at 1901 N. Elston Ave. — other developers were under the impression Sterling Bay would also purchase Stanley’s, the Peters’ realtor told Block Club.
Sterling Bay did not purchase the site, and the property went to auction, where Novak was among multiple bidders, the realtor said.
Stanley’s was founded in 1967 by Stanley Peters, who retired several years ago. Peters’ son and other family members continued to operate the store, which offered produce on its shelves from more than 50 Midwest farms.
It’s not clear what will replace the grocery store. No building permits have been pulled yet, according to city records.
Novak has taken on smaller projects, too; in the West Town neighborhood, the company remodeled Erie Neighborhood House, the headquarters for the social services organization.
Novak currently has no plans for the iconic Stanley’s sign, which depicts a man smoking a pipe and sitting atop a watermelon-turned-helicopter in the clouds. Those interested in the sign — or leasing the site — can call Paschen at 773-278-1100.
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