Things are definitely looking optimistic for our ward in 2012. A few weeks ago, I sat down with the
developers of Green Street Properties to discuss their interest in renovating
the former Foodland grocery store site.
This large property prominently located at the intersection of Highway
44 & Jefferson, has sparked genuine interest and excitement amongst
business owners and developers since my inception as Alderwoman. The location of the Foodland building is
highly desirable. With its high traffic count, easy access to major highway,
convenience to downtown and strong residential neighborhoods; this site has
been screaming for activity. Over the
past years, several ideas have been proposed including a mixed use retail
development, a movie theatre, a furniture warehouse and even a charter school.
Despite strong interest in the site, the economy has been a major factor and indicator
in the availability for developers to obtain the financing necessary to bring
the project into completion. This
situation is no different, as the developers are working to accumulate the
necessary capital to make this project work.
They recently appeared before the city’s Tax Increment Finance board for
a preliminary review hearing to discuss their proposal.
The developers’ proposal include the current Foodland building sub-divided into
three retail entities. The project will
apply for LEED certification (which means during the construction and design
process, the developers will work to promote sustainability by recycling and
reusing products. Some ideas include
utilizing energy efficient features to reduce light pollution, incorporating
rain gardens in the urban landscape surrounding the building, and a permeable
parking surface for the collection of rainwater. )
The main retail site will feature a grocery store.
Other discussions for the remaining retail sites include a gym,
restaurant, bank and hardware store. The entry of a grocery store to our
neighborhood will be a welcome addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
named our neighborhood a “food desert” due to the lack of healthy food,
contributed by the shortage of a grocery store in the area.
I am very excited about this proposed new development, and I hope you are too –
however understand that there is still more heavy lifting to be done to bring
this project into fruition. As the
process advances, I will do my best to make sure the neighborhood is included
in the discussions. It is important for
you to know how things are developing at such an important site in the