Plans for a cannabis dispensary and bakery in the Evanston Gateway apartment building at Howard Street and Chicago Avenue are scheduled to be reviewed by the city’s Land Use Commission Wednesday.

The proposal, from the social equity company OKAY Cannabis, was first reported last month.

The site design to be reviewed by the LUC calls for customers for both businesses to enter the bakery from the Howard Street side of the building.

An image of the West Town Bakery location in Wheeling from its Instagram feed.

Customers seeking cannabis would then pass through a security screening vestibule to enter the dispensary area and exit through a door on the Chicago Avenue side of the building, while bakery customers would leave through the Howard Street doorway by which they entered.

OKAY Cannabis initially requested operating hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for both the bakery and the dispensary. But the city’s zoning ordinance restricts dispensary operations to 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

OKAY Cannabis won three dispensary licenses from the state in July 2021 and operates a store in Wheeling and is scheduled to open one in Chicago this month.

The company is majority-owned by Charles Mayfield, who is currently the interim chief operating officer of the Chicago Public Schools.

The business is also separately seeking a liquor license from the city to be able to sell alcohol at the bakery.

The company says it intends to employ 15 to 20 licensed and trained workers “from a wide array of minority groups, with roots in Evanston.”

A entity related to the dispensary ownership plans to purchase the first floor level of the five-story newly-constructed residential building from the developer.

A rendering of the Evanston Gateway building.

When the apartment building project was approved in 2018, the plan was to have the ground floor occupied by City Grange, a retail gardening supply business, that would have had an outdoor sales area to the north of the building.

But City Grange has since closed its Chicago locations and is no longer interested in the Evanston site.

The Land Use Commission meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the City Council Chambers at the Civic Center.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Such “irony” that cannabis operations are the taxing bodies behind our reparations programs—both once thought of as “out of the question”!
    Bring ‘em on!
    Along with the proposed bakery—for those who might experience “the munchies”!

  2. I wonder why the restriction on open hours. Is there any point in restricting legal sales to 10 to 8? Was this done by law or by administrative fiat?

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