Starbucks breaks ground at West Lawn property vacant for 40 years – NBC Chicago

A new Starbucks coming to Chicago’s West Lawn neighborhood is a long-awaited, welcomed sight for residents who fought for development of land that has sat vacant for 40 years.

Groundbreaking started Friday morning at the lot off of Cicero Avenue and West 64th Street. The city acquired the property in 2006.

“We’re well on our way here after 40 years, so we’re excited to be here and share the great occasion with our community,” said 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn, who pushed for development in the area for the past 10 years.

“Right across the street is a suburb, so any time the city gets a development like this it’ll grow more development across this midway corridor,” Quinn told NBC Chicago.

The property used to be a gas station, which officials at Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development said dissuaded potential investors due to environmental and remediation concerns. It’s also in Midway Airport’s runway protection zone, meaning any building there needs to be below 19 feet high.

Investors eventually came around after the city allocated nearly all proceeds to the site’s remediation needs.

“This project is a testament to a lot of things, including patience and perseverance,” said Mitch Goltz with GW Properties at Friday’s groundbreaking.

Community members said they welcome the change.

“I think as long as there’s an opportunity for growth, I think it’s great. We have a lot of community members who live within walking distance,” said Salvador Hernandez, who’s lived in the area for 18 years. “It’s in our best interest to frequent the neighborhood and be able to walk to places as the summer months are coming along. It’s also good to be able to take the kids on a walk.”

Ald. Quinn said 80,000 cars and trucks pass through Cicero Avenue each day, making it an ideal location for development to continue.

The Starbucks is expected to open in September 2024.

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