West Ridge Chamber hopes to lure retail to Touhy, Western

We told you earlier today about plans for a mixed-use development on Devon Avenue. While Devon has more of an Indian flavor, the West Ridge Chamber of Commerce is hoping to lure some mainstream retailers – perhaps the Gap – to Western Avenue and Touhy Avenue.
Both streets have more than their fair share of shuttered storefronts, and the chamber’s executive director, Amie Zander, tells Yo that she hopes the proposed Touhy / Western TIF will change all that.

Zander says many Jewish businesses on Touhy and Western shut down when their customers moved to the suburbs. Some of the retailers who have since moved in haven’t given a lot of thought to what the district needs, she says. “All of a sudden, 30 nail salons open up, then 29 of them have to close because you only need so many per neighborhood,” Zander says.

She says Devon has such a rich selection of Asian food and retail, that Touhy and Western could be developed in different ways to complement Devon and cater to other cultural needs.

Some locals like the idea of having a Gap store in the neighborhood and Zander says she thinks the idea might appeal to second-generation Indian residents who’ve grown up in the neighborhood and white residents.

Zander also thinks a bookstore, a cafe “not necessarily Starbucks” and some Mexican or Italian restaurants would be welcome.

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