WEST RIDGE — The redevelopment of the former Bakers Square in West Ridge is nearly complete, with the first tenant of the newly built strip mall now open.
Starbucks opened at the strip mall, 7137 N. Western Ave., after a ribbon cutting last week, Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th) said. It is the first tenant to open in the strip mall at southeast corner of Western and Touhy avenues.
A takeout version of Buffalo Wild Wings and an Athletico physical therapy site will open in the mall “over the coming months,” Silverstein wrote in a newsletter to residents. The final tenant of the commercial building will be F45 Training, a high-intensity workout facility, Silverstein wrote.
The strip mall replaced a Bakers Square building that stood at the corner since 1980.
It is unclear when the Bakers Square in West Ridge closed. The chain’s parent company filed for bankruptcy in 2019 and announced the closure of five Illinois locations.
Developer GW Properties bought the Bakers Square building in late 2019 and proposed replacing it with an 8,000-square-foot retail strip. Early proposals for the project included a Starbucks and a Wingstop, and neighbors proposed a litany of businesses that should go in the development, including a Trader Joe’s.
The Wingstop was eventually replaced by a new takeout eatery from Buffalo Wild Wings.
A rezoning to make way for the strip mall was approved by the City Council in May 2020.
In seeking the rezoning, GW Properties principal Mitch Goltz said restaurant buildings the size of the former Bakers Square were no longer viable any more.
A retail strip, anchored by a Starbucks, would be a better fit for the space, Goltz said.
“These types of [retail] centers are what’s needed in the city,” he said.
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