Near West Side grocer finally on its way

The Near West Side and East Garfield Park will move one step closer toward getting a much-needed grocery store next month, when Pete’s Fresh Market is expected to close on the vacant lot at the southeast corner of Madison Street and Western Avenue and file for building permits, says 2nd Ward Ald. Robert Fioretti.

In his latest newsletter, Fioretti says ground could break on the new grocery store by June.

“The store will represent a new store prototype for Pete’s Fresh Market with many ‘green’ features, and will provide all of the amenities that were requested through the 2nd Ward community process,” he writes. “Such features include fresh produce, quality service, no liquor sales in the grocery store, no liquor store adjacent to it, and more. It will be 100 percent groceries, produce and bakery — no pharmacy, no toys, no junk.”

The process of placing a grocer at Madison and Western hasn’t been easy, as you can tell from this roundup of Chicago Journal articles from 2006 to 2009. Aldi proposed a store for the corner five years ago, but some community argued the site would be better served by a Jewel/Osco or Dominick’s. The Pete’s proposal was floated in early 2009.

In the summer of 2009, Mike Tomas of the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance took me and Mark Boyer to the site during a drive around East Garfield Park and the Near West Side. You can see that part of our tour in the video above.

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