Work is finally underway on a much-awaited Trader Joe’s at 1211 Chicago Ave. in Evanston.
Demolition has already begun at the former site of a Blockbuster store, and developers are planning to hold an official groundbreaking this Thursday, Jan. 31, at 1 p.m., according to Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd Ward).
"The development of this site into a new Trader Joe's is yet another sign that Evanston's economic health is definitely on the upswing," Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said in a press release for the city. "Trader Joe's will be a good asset to the economy not only for the added commerce it will generate but also for the jobs it will create and the visitors it will attract to our community that is already known for its excellent restaurants, shops and entertainment venues."
Construction will take roughly six months, according to Scott Gendell, president of development firm Terraco, Inc., and the store expects to open in September or October. He said work should not affect traffic on Chicago Avenue, since the site is big enough to for machinery to maneuver without entering the roadway.
"Trader Joe's is enthusiastically and anxiously awaiting their store opening in Evanston," Gendell said. "Everything's on schedule."
Trader Joe’s regional vice president Adam Mutolo has said the hiring process would start up to four weeks before the store’s actual opening. Mutolo said he did yet not know how many positions would open up.
City manager Wally Bobkiewicz has said that the grocery store is each year. Last spring, aldermen voted 8-1 to purchase the lots at 1223- 1225 and 1229 Chicago Ave. for $2.05 million in order to build parking for the store. City officials hope to generate enough revenue in taxes from the store to offset the purchase price within five years.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include information about when the store is projected to open.