Walgreens is in the early stages of plans to build a 15,000-square-foot store with a drive-thru at the southwest corner of Madison Street and Oak Park Avenue, now home to Sear’s Pharmacy.
However, village planners still have concerns about how well the proposal fits the Madison Street Corridor Plan, approved last year as a master plan for properties from Austin Boulevard to Harlem Avenue.
Jay Javors has a contract to buy the corner building and the lot to the west, now a Comcast parking lot, so the development site would be between Oak Park and Grove avenues, said Greg Melnyk, Javors’ attorney. Javors, of Hinsdale-based Midwest Property Group, also owns the 1132 Lake St. building, home to Chipotle Restaurant.
The contract to buy-which is actually a contract to buy a contract from another developer, Alex Troyanovsky-is dependent upon village approval, Melnyk said.
The Walgreens building would be at the corner of the site, at Madison and Oak Park Avenue, with parking to the west.
The 916 Madison St. Walgreens would close and move to the new site, which will have a drive-thru at the rear of the building, Melnyk said.
“That’s [Walgreens’] biggest problem with their existing building,” he said.
Melnyk said Javors has been working with the village on plans for the site since December. He expects to submit plans this week.
The facade won’t be standard Walgreens fare. “We’re going to try to have something different. It’s not going to be a standard box. … [It] will be specifically designed for this Oak Park location,” Melnyk said.
The Madison Street Coalition, a village board-appointed commission charged with working with developers in the early stages of planning, has met with the Javors team to “help align [its plans] with the corridor plan,” said Dennis Marani, coalition chair.
“This is a key intersection down the Madison Street corridor,” said Village Planner Craig Failor.
A mixed-use development-one with retail and residential or offices-is called for in the plan. Walgreens isn’t a bad use, Failor said, “but it would be better if it were incorporated into a mixed-used development, as suggested by the plan.”
Changes have already been made to the design as a result of input from the coalition, such as moving the building to the front of the lot. “Some coalition members felt the design being proposed turned its back to Madison Street,” Failor said.
The building will be made two stories to give the appearance of a mixed-use building. “The second floor will just be a vacant space,” Melnyk said. The building’s footprint would be too small for another use-condominiums for example-above the pharmacy, he said.
Zoning at the site allows for buildings up to 50 feet tall.
Some of the parking proposed for the site is prohibited by the plan, Failor said, because parking is called for at the corner of Grove and Madison. The plan prohibits parking at corners.
The proposed lot also doesn’t jibe with the part of the plan that limits parking lot frontage along Madison Street to 60 feet or 25 percent of the development’s frontage. Failor estimated the Walgreens lot would take up about 50 percent of its frontage.
Until the village board approved a zoning overlay district for Madison Street two weeks ago, the Walgreens proposal would have been a by-right development, meaning it would not have needed any special village approval. Now it will be considered a planned development and will be reviewed by the Plan Commission, Failor said.
The coalition talked about creating more of an urban model of Walgreens, Failor said, noting that its first plans were similar to what CVS Pharmacy built at the southeast corner of Madison and Ridgeland. Failor said there was “a lot of concern about how CVS looks at that key intersection.”