The former LaSalle Bank building and the Art Deco Medic Building near the busy Belmont, Lincoln and Ashland intersection have both been demolished and now a hulking 75,000 square foot Gensler-designed Whole Foods is looking to take over the northeast corner of the bustling Lakeview intersection. The recession halted a previous plan to build 90,000 square feet of retail and 131 residences at the location, and while the idea of new retail is exciting to many Lakeview residents, some are concerned about the size and scale of the project and the congestion that the 300 parking spaces will add to the already overloaded roads. According to DNAinfo, the Melrose Street Concerned Residents community organization has offered a number of recommendations that would change the proposal in a way that could alleviate some of the traffic concerns which "will preserve and protect the residential character of Melrose Street."
As is, the plan calls for 184 underground parking spaces and 126 ground level parking spaces, with the main entrance at Belmont and a second entrance on Melrose. Residents are calling on developer Novak Construction and Whole Foods to place the store on the ground level and to entirely abandon the idea of having an entrance/exit on Melrose. In their counter proposal, the group mentions that there is already a parking garage for St. Luke's assisted living center on Melrose only 50 yards away from where the new Whole Foods would be built. And instead of installing a new traffic light on Melrose, residents are suggesting that the residential street should be turned into a cul-de-sac.
Obviously the proposal still has a little ways to go before it'll make everyone happy. But one thing that hasn't been mentioned since the unveiling of the new plan is whether the facade of the old Medic Building will be repurposed or not. Alderman Tom Tunney previously promised that the ornamental exterior relief of the Art Deco building would be preserved and reused, but it still remains unknown if this will actually happen or not.
·Whole Foods Ignoring Concerns Over New Lakeview Store, Neighbors Say [DNAinfo]
·Lakeview Whole Foods Flagship Will Become City's 2nd Biggest [Curbed Chicago]
·Lincoln/Belmont/Ashland Project to Include New Whole Foods? [Curbed Chicago]
·The Old LaSalle Bank Building on Belmont Is Now Demolished [Curbed Chicago]