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."
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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