Pete's to break ground
But actual construction may not begin for months
02/08/2012 10:00 PM
Pete’s Fresh Market is slated to finally break ground on Saturday at Madison Street and Western Avenue, after months — perhaps even years — of delays. But it’ll just be ceremonial as it won’t mark the beginning of the store’s actual construction, which may still be months away.
Pete’s finally closed on its purchase of the land at the end of January, ending a lengthy legal wrangle as they worked with the city to try to combine multiple plots of land and alleys into one piece of property.
But while Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) will shovel some ceremonial dirt alongside the store’s owners on Saturday, it’s still not clear just when construction on the store will begin. That’s because Pete’s is still waiting for its building permits to be approved by the city.
Pete’s manager Charlie Poulikis said they’re currently working with the city’s building department to get the permits, and he thinks they should be able to start construction in earnest by April or May. Right now, they’re working with the building department on a few tweaks to the design, focusing on its green roof, he said.
“As soon as the city gives us the building permit, we’re ready,” Poulikis said. “Every time you present drawings to the city for building permits, 99 percent of the time, you do have minor issues you have to correct. Hopefully, in a couple of months we should start breaking the ground.”
Fioretti said he’s doing everything he can to try to make sure Pete’s moves forward through the building department quickly, and he’s trying to get a point person designated for Pete’s to work with, rather than going through the bureaucratic shuffle each time they submit a new document.
“As we have with some of the other large projects that take place in the ward, like Target and Costco, my office and I have assisted in moving the permit process along as quickly as possible,” he said. “It seems like there’s always another wrinkle. I’m going to stay on top of the department and try to keep them on top of it to approve this permit.”
Still, he said, Pete’s is finally making big progress, and that’s a good thing. He said they should be able to begin site prep work without building permits. For example, environmental remediation is needed at the site because it used to be a gas station; some utility work is also needed.
“It’s not like it’s stopped, to say the least. It is moving forward. Every step requires another inspection by this city, fortunately or unfortunately,” Fioretti said. “Pete’s is doing everything they can.”
Meanwhile, Pete’s is working on locking down the other tenants in the complex, Poulikis said. No one’s signed a lease yet, but on board so far are a Subway, a Chinese food shop, a T-Mobile store and a boutique clothing shop.
A Starbucks that had previously been on board is now holding out for a drive through, something Poulikis said they can’t accommodate. Instead, they’ve offered Starbucks the corner spot at Madison and Western.
Poulikis said the new store will be a great one when it finally debuts.
“This will be the most beautiful building we have ever seen inside and out,” he said, “because of the way we designed the building.”