LOGAN SQUARE — A huge grocery store is poised to take over the vacant CVS site on Milwaukee Avenue.
Independently-owned grocery store Farmer’s Best Market, which has locations in the Brickyard Mall and suburban Northlake, is looking to open a third location at 2065 N. Milwaukee Ave., co-owner Nick Merikas said. Merikas said they haven’t finalized the lease yet, but they’re “90 percent sure” the deal is moving forward.
“We’re very excited,” Merikas said. “We talked to the alderman about it. He’s very happy. We’re going to put in a lot of money inside and out of the store and beautify” the area.
Should everything go as planned, the Logan Square grocery store will be similar in concept and size to the Brickyard Mall location, Merikas said, which offers meat, produce, cheese, dairy, seafood, liquor, bakery and deli sections. Merikas said they’re planning to open the Logan Square store by next spring.
Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st) said the store will bring new life to a site that’s been a “black hole” since CVS moved out. CVS shut down the Milwaukee Avenue location in 2017 to focus on other nearby locations at 2434 N. Sacramento Ave. and 2656 N. Elston Ave., a spokesperson for the company said Wednesday. Neighbors have called for a grocery store to take over the site, La Spata said.
“When I was running [for office], probably every third door the question was: What can we do to bring a grocery store to this location?” La Spata said. “For it to be an independent grocer, for it to be someone who operates locally, is really exciting to me. When I spoke to Nick, he was really interested in being engaged with the community, so I think it’s going to be a really good fit.”
Merikas said he’s wanted to open a grocery store in Logan Square for several years; the CVS site is perfect, he said, because the building is large and has its own parking lot. The plan is to overhaul and interior and exterior of the building and give it a glass facade like the Brickyard Mall store, he said.
Merikas and his team are negotiating the terms of the lease with CVS. Despite having moved out years ago, the pharmacy still holds the lease on the property for several more years, which has made redeveloping the site tricky, La Spata said.
“If you’re going to start a business of this scale, you’re hoping to be there for the longterm. An eight-year sublease can make it hard to justify the level of investment it takes to get a space like this up and running,” the alderman said.
While the process has been “slow,” Merikas said he expects they’ll reach a deal with CVS over the next few days and assume control of the property soon.
“We’ll be doing what we can to bring them across the finish line,” La Spata said.
Logan Square is home to several grocery stores, including the Dill Pickle Food Co-Op, Armitage Produce, Tony’s Fresh Market, Rico Fresh and Cermak Fresh Market further west. But locals have clamored for more grocery stores, Trader Joe’s in particular.
By opening a grocery store in Logan Square, Merikas said they’re aiming to fill a gap in the neighborhood and provide “something for everybody.”
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