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Filling the Old Osco at Oakton and Asbury is Tricky

Readers say they want everything from a grocery store to a yoga studio, but filling the empty space has proven difficult.

A couple weeks ago, Evanston Patch at the corner of Oakton Street and Asbury Avenue. We got more than two dozen replies, with the majority of commenters eager to see a small, speciality food store move in.

While there are ongoing conversations with two potential businesses, filling the space has proven difficult, city officials say.

"Any of those things would be great," said Paul Zalmezak, Evanston's economic development coordinator, responding to Patch reader suggestions. The issue is sealing the deal.

Zalmezak said the city has had conversations with small, concept grocery stores, "but they have not pulled the trigger."

Related:

Zalmezak and 9th Ward Alderman Coleen Burrus both said there are preliminary discussions going on with two potential occupants of the space, but said it was too early to give any details on who they are.

Burrus addressed the empty 14,000-square-foot space in a recent newsletter, explaining to residents that the poor economy has made finding a new occupant difficult. Adding to that, she explained, is the fact that CVS (which bought Osco's parent company) has a lease on the property through 2020.

"This represents a drawback to potential tenants that are interested in ownership of the property because the current property owner has not had an interest in selling," Burrus wrote.

Burrus said there have been talks with both local and national grocery chains about the spot, including .

"As the commercial real estate market begins to warm up and more national and regional retailers indicate a willingness to expand, it is our goal to bring that wave of expansion to Oakton and Asbury," Burrus wrote.

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Richard Schulte March 14, 2012 at 05:42 PM
That Sully is a prince of a fellow. Always willing to help a conservative make an important decision. It might come down to which state has better grapefruit-white grapefruit come from Florida and red grapefruit from Texas. Hmmm. . . tough decision.
Sully March 14, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Not a big fan of grapefruit myself.
Richard Schulte March 14, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Ahhh. . . that settles it then. I'll send you a box of grapefruit instead of a box of sugar white sand from the beach. Because of my high regard for you (and other progressives), I'll throw in a Sarah Palin bumper sticker too. It will look good on your Bentley-the bumper stick I mean, not the grapefruit. :-)
Sully March 14, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Bentleys are so New York. We stick to the BMWs around here. Come on Rich- get with it!
millie March 15, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Several produce stores opened on the edge of Evanston recently just won't open here. Must not have offer them thousands of dollars to open up shop.

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