Flagship Walgreens Could Open Around Labor Day
The massive new building faced challenges during construction, making the new opening date a far cry from initial reports saying it would open yet in 2012.
The new flagship Walgreens store under construction on the corner of Clark Street and West Diversey Parkway could open sometime around Labor Day, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) said.
The Lake View alderman attended the recent South East Lake View Neighbors meeting where he told residents the former Borders bookstore was in much worse shape than Walgreens officials initially thought. That meant moving the new store’s opening date from late 2012 to September 2013.
“Right around Labor Day, I believe it’s going to be opening,” Tunney said. “In the renovation plans they found a building that was in much worse shape than they thought, so they are taking more time to fix it.”
In September, Tunney’s Chief of Staff Bennett Lawson said the store was on track to potentially open before or shortly after the holidays. A couple of weeks later at October’s South East Lake View Neighbors meeting, Tunney's Communications Director Erin Duffy announced the store was facing construction problems and would open sometime in the spring of 2013.
While the number has undoubtedly changed since its initial evaluation, the estimated cost to renovate the former bookstore is $3.5 million, according to the building permit. Howard Hirsch, president of Hirsch Associates Architecture and Planning and the mastermind behind the two-story building, says finishes will be an additional $700,000.
Walgreens representatives later told Patch the store wouldn’t be ready until the end of 2013, but according to Tunney, Labor Day might be the new target completion date. The alderman also said finding a business to fill Walgreens’ current storefront across the street is still under way.
“A tenant has not been identified for the former site,” Tunney added. “… They had an approved plan for an eight-story building basically at that corner (where the current Walgreens stands). Walgreens will come down, and a new retail space with apartments above it is scheduled to take its place. I think (those developers) need to come back and refresh our memories here, but it was already approved a few years ago.”
The new building at 600 W. Diversey Pkwy. will include 57 studio-sized apartments and retail spaces on the first floor. Representatives with the building have declined to comment on the construction plan, as well as construction under way in front of the building on Diversey.
Once completed, the new two-story Walgreens will be modeled after the Loop flagship store that opened in January 2012 and the Wicker Park location opened in November, catering to an upscale clientele. With amenities like a café and sushi chef, this store will be a far cry from the company’s traditional stores.