22 Aug 2014
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Pequod's Orders Up Extra Large Expansion Near Metra

The Village Board of Trustees hears a proposal on Monday to demolish existing Pequod's and build a larger one closer to the Metra train station.

Pequod's Orders Up Extra Large Expansion Near Metra Pequod's Orders Up Extra Large Expansion Near Metra Pequod's Orders Up Extra Large Expansion Near Metra

, an area institution, announced plans Monday night to build a two-story restaurant five times its current size near the Morton Grove train station inside a city tax increment financing, or TIF district.

The Village of Morton Grove will also buy and demolish the current Pequod's properties at 8520 and 8522 Fernald, under a proposal given its first reading at a board of trustees meeting.

"People have been asking us for more sit-down restaurants and that is what we got," Mayor Dan Staackmann said. "We're very excited about it."

Pequod's owner Keith Jackson plans to build a 6,000 to 7,500 square foot building with 5,000 square feet used for a new, two-level pizzeria and the remaining area divided into two other retail businesses, spokesman Richard Winer said.

A doughnut shop/bakery and a dry cleaner's have made initial inquiries about the other shops, Winer said, but all proposals will be considered. Preliminary architectural drawings call for one of the other shops to face Chestnut Street and the other Lehigh Avenue.

The new Pequod's is expected to open before the existing one closes and is purchased by the city, according to the agreement.

Winer said the new restaurant should open in June of 2012, according to the current timeline.

Under terms of the deal announced by the city, Jackson will pay $346,000 for the city-owned undeveloped property at 6401 Chestnut Street. The Village will pay $455,000 for Pequod's Restaurant and an adjacent property, with plans to raze the pizzeria, create additional parking, and realign an awkward alleyway across from a fire station.

Trustee Dan DiMaria said the new building will be a "focal point," for the 1,000 commuters who use the train station daily. Instead of just getting in their cars and driving away, he said, they can now stop for dinner and drinks.

The expectation is that having a well-known institution like Pequod's will encourage further restaurant and retail development, making Morton Grove's train station more like Glenview, Des Plaines and Edison Park, DiMaria said.

"This is what we've been trying to do for years now," he said.

In 2000, the village created a TIF district at the intersection of Lehigh Avenue and Ferris Avenue, which aimed to create a transit-oriented neighborhood surrounding the Metra train station there. With bonds issued by the city, improvements were made to what was then a blighted neighborhood. The Pequod's development is the first real fruit from that effort.

Also at Monday night's board meeting, trustees approved $87,381 total for the purchase of four new police pursuit vehicles. The existing Crown Victorias, described as high-mileage vehicles more than three years old, will be merged with the city fleet.

Trustees also approved several new "no parking" and "limited time parking" zones on the following streets: Chestnut Street, Major Avenue, School Street, Austin Avenue and Dempster Street.

Second reading and a vote on the Pequod's deal is scheduled for the March 14 trustee meeting.

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