They Say They Don't Want New Grocery Store

CHICAGO (CBS) — Residents of the Lincoln Park neighborhood say they do not want a new grocery store to replace the old Lincoln Park Hospital.

They held a rally Sunday, protesting plans by a developer to build a 20,000 square-foot store at 550 W. Webster Ave.

Some of the protesters say they do not want a grocery store in the middle of a residential block because they say it will bring too much traffic.

Forty-third Ward Democratic committeeman Michele Smith said on her blog in November that she believes the store simply would be too big for the area where it would be located.

“The new Apple Store on North Avenue is 6,500 square feet. The proposed store is more than three times that size,” Smith wrote. “Will this really be a “walkable” type of store, when the principle amenity of the site is 255 parking spaces? Common sense tells us that this is a ‘destination’ type of grocery store, bringing not only residents, but many others who will drive to the store.”

A spokesman for the developer disputed Smith’s claim, saying published reports indicated that the size of the Apple store (18,000 square feet) and the proposed Fresh Market grocery store are almost the same in size.

Lincoln Park Hospital, formerly Grant Hospital, closed in October 2008 when its owners couldn’t find a buyer.

The latest plans for the proposed new Webster Square development call for a 12-story, 120-unit residential building, a separate 40-unit, 55-foot tall building on Grant Place, the grocery store, a parking garage with 255 spaces, and more than 95,000 square feet of medical and professional office space.

In January, developer Richard Zisook said the project would make the former hospital buildings fit in far better with their surrounding architecture. The plan calls for using most of the existing structures to reduce the impact on neighbors.