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Walmart Agrees to Strict Boundaries on Market Plan

Developer's agreement limits use, details disguising of big-box building.

Walmart Agrees to Strict Boundaries on Market Plan Walmart Agrees to Strict Boundaries on Market Plan

A developer's agreement set to go before the Common Council on Tuesday details the design and use parameters for a Walmart Neighborhood Market planned for the former Jewel-Osco building at 3850 N. 124th St.

The 15-page document addresses key issues of concern that cropped up when the project was proposed in April. : that the market not morph into a full-fledged Walmart discount store and expand into the entire 63,000-square-foot building.

The agreement limits the Walmart market portion of the development to 38,500 square feet of space, and use of that space is limited to merchandise typical of a full-service grocer and pharmacy. The remaining 25,000 square feet of space is limited to no more than three other retailers, with 52 "potentially noxious or undesirable uses" for that particular site prohibited, such as taverns, adult entertainment, hotels, motels, funeral homes and child care centers, to name a few.

California developer Gatlin Development Co. Inc. hopes to begin construction this year to renovate the vacant building, landscape the barren 83,500-square-foot parking lot and include pedestrian and bicyclist amenities. 

The project went before the city's Design Review Board three times. The final plan earning approval from the city calls for a "rehabilitated" exterior with a mix of architectural features intended to add visual interest to the existing bland, big-box building built on the 5.52-acre lot in 1998.

To disguise the big-box building, the agreement requires the Walmart market's exterior be colored in earthy hues of brown, gray and cream. The building's front is to include windows, canopies, pilasters and other architectural features created with a mix of masonry, metal panels and decorative block materials. The existing single one-story roof plane will gain varied parapet walls and cornices "to avoid a plain, monotonous look."

The agreement includes a six-month review of the market's proposed 24-hour operating hours. The developer's agreement also is contingent upon purchase of the property, which city assessment records show as having a $6.4 million fair market value.

The Walmart Market is expected to generate from 65 to 80 jobs.

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