CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) — Newly-elected Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) is already following through on a campaign promise, and trying to curb the redevelopment plans for the old Lincoln Park Hospital.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s David Roe reports, at the first meeting of the newly-constituted City Council Wednesday, Smith proposed a zoning change for the site on Webster Avenue just east of Lincoln Avenue, Geneva Terrace and Larrabee Street, which would prevent the developer from putting a grocery store on the site.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s David Roe reports
But an attorney for the developer says it’s too late. The city has already issued a permit for the planned 20,000 square-foot Fresh Market grocery store, which would open in the former parking garage for the hospital on the south side of Webster Avenue.
Former Ald. Vi Daley gave her support to the redevelopment plan, and the City Council approved it in a lame-duck session of the last City Council earlier this month.
Smith accused the developer, Sandz Development Co., of pushing the project through during a lame-duck session of the council, and says she will move to repeal the ordinance approving it.
Smith’s opposition to the project figured heavily in her election as Lincoln Park’s alderman in April.
The development, called Webster Square calls for one existing hospital building to be converted into high-rise condo tower, and for a second residential building called “The Flats” to be constructed on the site. The project also calls six floors of medical offices in an existing hospital building.
But the grocery store has drawn the most opposition from neighbors. It would open right across from a block of vintage homes.
Many neighbors have expressed concern about additional traffic congestion and delivery truck traffic for the grocery store on quiet and narrow Webster Avenue. Some neighbors have expressed concern that the store would take business away from Carnival Foods, a small neighborhood grocery store located about a block away at Lincoln, Cleveland and Dickens avenues.
Some neighbors have also argued that the zoning change that permitted the grocery store could pave the way for a big-box store someday, ushering in even more traffic.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.