Trader Joe’s says it needs an entrance from Emerson Street for its proposed store in the planned 1890 Maple Ave. apartment building.

And, based on discussion at Monday’s City Council Planning and Development Committee meeting, it appears the popular grocery chain will have no trouble getting its wish.

The planned development approved for the site last fall called for having all traffic enter through an alley off University Place.

Under the revised plan delivery trucks would still use that route, but store shoppers and building tenants in cars would enter and leave through a ramp at the west end of the building’s Emerson Street frontage using a 24-foot-wide curb cut.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, asked city staff to report at the council’s next meeting on any possible traffic congestion issues the new traffic plan might create. “I live near Jewel and Wild Oats, and those are big traffic generators,” Wynne said. She suggested there might be a need for traffic control signals at the intersection of Emerson and Oak Avenue, a half block west of the building.

The project architect told aldermen the new entrance ramp on the building’s north face would be shielded by a translucent overhead door that would be kept open only during store hours. He said there would be no changes to the other sides of the planned 14-story rental apartment building.

Except that its enclosed within the building, the new design is somewhat similar to the ramp entrance to the existing Whole Foods market on Chicago Avenue.

The council is expected to vote on amendments to the planned development ordinance to incorporate the requested change at its next meeting on Monday, July 28. Alderman Anjana Hansen, 9th Ward, cast the only vote against having the revised ordinance drafted.

Michael Deegan, a real estate consultant for Trader Joe’s said the company has been looking at potential sites in Evanston for nearly eight years and has been working for 18 months with Carroll Properties, the developer of the 1890 Maple Ave. project.

He said Trader Joe’s signed a letter of intent about two weeks ago and that the parties are very close to reaching agreement on a lease for the site.

He said that easy access to parking is an essential requirement for grocery shoppers and he said that with the new access to the enclosed parking spaces the new site would meet the firm’s needs “extraordinarily well.”

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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5 Comments

  1. Finally!
    I’d love to have a Trader Joe’s in downtown Evanston! It beats Whole Food’s prices, and I won’t have to schlep to Glenview just to shop there. I’d imagine most people would be walking, biking, or taking the train to this location, so I don’t think parking would be a huge issue.

    1. Re: Finally
      I don’t have an issue with the access on Emerson and I think Trader Joe’s will be a great addition to Evanston.

      However, essentially nobody is going to take the train to shop there. It’s a good 2.5 blocks or so to the closest station (Foster). Walkers… yes. Bikers… yes. Drivers… definitely. Train… I don’t think so. I used to live right by the Jewel and Wild Oats on Chicago. We would walk to get groceries, but you’re limited by what you can carry or you bring one of those wheeled-carts. Dealing with all that and the train means little to no shoppers via the train.

  2. Re: Finally
    Yea, I can just see all those bean counters at Trader Joe’s HQ running the numbers on the census of likely bike riders to their new potential location. Must have sucked the air out of the room when they saw the opportunity.

  3. Trader Joe’s in Evanston??
    any further information about when or if a Trader Joe’s will be coming to Evanston???

    Reply:
    Don’t hold your breath.
    If the planned rental high rise at 1890 Maple gets built, and if the developer finally nails down a deal with Trader Joe’s to occupy the ground floor — then maybe we’ll have one … maybe five years from now.
    Trader Joe’s seems much less eager to come here than many Evanston residents are to have it here.
    — Bill

  4. Trader Joe’s
    I would LOVE to have a Trader Joe’s in Evanston! Please come soon Trader Joes!!! 🙂

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