Aldi won't be moving to Madison Street in Oak Park

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

The longtime vacant auto dealership on Madison Street that was slated to get an Aldi grocery store will continue to remain vacant.

For the past year, the Batavia-based retailer had been eyeing the historic building, designed by E.E. Roberts at 644 Madison St., which has been empty since Foley-Rice Cadillac closed several years ago.

According to Doug Kaarre, the village's urban planner, no formal plans were ever presented, and to his knowledge Aldi has pulled the plug on the Madison Street plan.

Wednesday Journal reported in April that the prospective owners wanted to preserve the facade of a building in a manner similar to the nearby Walgreens. Multiple plans were presented to the Oak Park Historic Preservation Commission and members of the group reported being open to the store moving in under those conditions. Since spring, however, the plans never moved forward.

Efforts have been made for three years to label the building historic. The property once housed a Packard dealership. Designating the building historic would ensure that any work or demolition done to the exterior would have to undergo review by the preservation commission.

Kaarre said a request from the property owners, who are hoping to sell the building without restrictions, has delayed the commission's decision. In June a request to delay the assessment was granted, which puts off any resolution until December. The commission is not set to review the property before then.

Email: Twitter: @AnnaLothson

Reader Comments

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Adam Smith  

Posted: September 21st, 2012 8:10 AM

Offer Aldi the opportunity to demo the building and rebuild new without power stations for electric cars, green roof, fair wage restrictions or other onerous hurdles. My guess is that they happily come back. BTW, I have on good authority that removal of the parkway tree you see in the pic was a huge issue for the Village.


Posted: September 21st, 2012 5:48 AM

@ nicholas - madison is not as bad as many places. is that the standard we set for ourselves. There is no secret that OP is business unfriendly.


Posted: September 21st, 2012 1:36 AM

Nicholas, basing your comparison on what's east of Austin does not exactly paint what's west of Austin in a great light. I'd hope that Oak Park would aspire to a higher standard of comparison.

Nicholas from Oak Park  

Posted: September 20th, 2012 9:43 PM

Madison Street is hardly blighted as compared to the street east of Austin. And no one knows for sure why they pulled out. To claim it was a money issue or the "architecture/design dictatorship" is also a stretch. How about waiting for the facts to come out before passing an opinion.

4 Freedom from Oak Park  

Posted: September 20th, 2012 6:32 PM

This is disappointing. Time to take a picture of the building, put it in Pleasant Home, and move on. Even if they tore the building down, it wouldn't be a huge loss. It's not like Aldi builds junk. Their store on North Ave. by 294 is nice IMHO.


Posted: September 19th, 2012 11:22 PM

Seems like an ideal spot for an Oak Park Music venue. Berwyn has nothing on OP. Music, food, weddings, holiday fun, etc....

Criminable Minds  

Posted: September 19th, 2012 2:31 PM

Another swing and a miss.


Posted: September 18th, 2012 11:56 PM

A budget food store decides not to move to Madison! Oak Park village take note, if you can't even attract a budge store to this blighted street, how are you going to attract more up market stores? Why is Madison st. such a hard nut to crack? All that money poured into it over the years, and it's still just rubble. Either it's cursed, or someone isn't doing their job properly.

Adam Smith  

Posted: September 18th, 2012 11:54 PM

The reason they ran is simple, too much money, architectural/design dictatorship and trouble to do business in this Village. We only bend over backwards for Aldi's close relative, Trader Joes. Do you think if we agree to narrow the street they'll reconsider?

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