Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and a coterie of city officials were on hand Thursday afternoon to break ground for Evanston’s new Trader Joe’s grocery store, aiming for an October opening.

Among the dignitaries were aldermen Judy Fiske, Jane Grover, and Melissa Wynne, along with city manager Wally Bobkiewicz, city clerk Rodney Greene, and developer Scott Gendell, president of Terraco, Inc..

The groundbreaking took all of two minutes in a bracing wind before the group moved inside the old Blockbuster video store at 1211 Chicago Ave. to take questions from the press.

Ald. Wynne, in whose Third Ward the new store will be located, noted that announcement of the popular facility has already sparked a great deal of interest among other businesses interested in locating in the Chicago Avenue corridor.

Plans for the site include demolishing the existing one-store retail building that once housed the video store and replacing it with a new 13,000-square-foot store with abundant free parking, according to Gendell.

Announcement of the chain coming to Evanston was made in February 2012, after months of negotiating that was kept such a secret that memos in the Civic Center referencing the many meetings with city officials, developers, and property owners referred to it only as “Project Eagle.”

The nearest existing Trader Joe’s outlets are located in Glenview and Northbrook.

Top: Mayor Tisdahl and City Clerk Greene wield the ceremonial shovel at the outdoor groundbreaking.

Earlier stories:

New Trader Joe’s store plan draws praise

Trader Joe’s to open store in Evanston

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. City Clerk at groundbreaking? Really?

    I understand the Mayor, City Manager, and the Alderman attending the groundbreaking as dignitaries–they are the ones responsible (ultimately) for brokering the deal, donating tax dollars to subsidse the store's parking needs, etc….

    But the City Clerk?  Although an elected official, he has no decision making power or authority on the city's policy or economic development.  He basically processes FOIAs and keeps the city's historical records.  An important job? Yes.  One that  had anything to do with bringing Trader Joes to the city? No.

    1. So what?

      So what? Who cares if the City Clerk was on hand for the ceremony. This is a significant "event" in Evanston, and anyone who wanted to attend should be able to attend. The bigger issue is why this was not more widely promoted in the Community for all to attend. This should have been a "big event" – to rally around and show our support. That's the bigger issue!

  2. Dangerous Place

    As we all know, at any moment in time, the most dangerous place to be in Evanston is between our mayor and a camera. 

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