Evanston aldermen delayed action on a liquor license for CVS Monday night in hopes of pressuring the company to come through with aid to develop a new use for a shuttered store on which it still holds the lease.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said the company had agreed to provide $200,000 to help turn the vacant shop at Asbury Avenue and Oakton Street into a Little Beans play space and cafe.

But the owners of Little Beans, Rainey said, also needed a loan from the Small Business Association to pull off the deal, and when the SBA demanded a commitment from CVS to deliver its money first, CVS refused.

That, Rainey said, is “shutting down” the Little Beans project.

CVS is seeking the liquor license for its pharmacy at 3333 Central St., at the opposite end of town from the shuttered store.

Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, said “it’s a huge barrier for the community” to have the Little Beans project stalled and she asked CVS representatives at the meeting to take a “360-degree view” of the community in making their decisions.

Rainey said later that she’s looking forward to meeting with CVS officials to discuss the issue.

In other liquor and food service actions Monday, the aldermen:

  • Voted to introduce a liquor license for Bangers and Lace at 810 Grove St., the former site of The Keg. Rainey inititally proposed rolling back the 3 a.m. closing time proposed in the license to 2 a.m, but withdrew that objection after staff presented a list of six other downtown liquor licensees authorized to stay open until 3 a.m.
  • Introduced and gave final approval for a package store liquor license for the Shell Gas Station at 2494 Oakton St.
  • Gave final approval to let Temperance Brewing Company sell beer for off-site consumption in 22 ounce containers.
  • Introduced a special use permit for 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria at 812 Church St.
  • Introduced and gave final approval to a special use permit for Beth’s Little Bake Shop at 1814 Central St.
  • Introduced and gave final approval to a special use permit for Patisserie Coralie at 600 Davis St.
  • Gave final approval to a special use permit for Doc Popcorn at 1613 Sherman Ave.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Is this a classic case of black-mail?

    Co-sign this SBA loan or no liquor license for you!  What's next, contribute $50,000 to my re-election campaign, hire my brother's law firm to represent your firm in Illinois, an envelope with some green in it might make things go more smoothly for your business?  If I were CVS, I would say enough is enough and close down my three stores in the 51st Ward.

    1. No. Its not blackmail

      It is not blackmail.  CVS has no right to a liquor license.  They also can do whatever they want with regard to the terms of their lease at Asbury and Oakton.

      They have been depriving the city of years of sales tax revenue by not allowing commercial activity at that corner.   Furthermore having a vacant building has degraded the condition of the neighborhood. Why should the community grant them a favor?

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