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Walgreens Superstore Should Be Complete By End of Month

Walgreens' flagship store should be complete by the end of October, according to one construction manager familiar with the project. While some residents are excited about the new business, they also have their concerns, primarily with traffic.

Construction for the new Walgreens superstore near the intersection of Dempster Street and Crawford Avenue should be complete by the end of the month, according to a construction manager from DeJames Builders, who are working on the project.

Construction first began in March, and now the building is all but complete. Fixtures could be seen inside and the drive-thru lane is already set up.  

The new store will replace the current Walgreens at 4101 Dempster St., which is just a few blocks west from the new store. The key differences between the two is that the new Walgreens will sell groceries, be much bigger and offer a drive-thru pharmacy window.

Some residents have bitter-sweet thoughts about the new store, however.

"I think it is going to be really convenient because I live with my grandma and we can now walk to the store and get everything we need," said Brittney Jones, 26, who lives adjacent to the new Walgreens on Harding Avenue. "I think [the Skokie Walgreens] will be like the big one in downtown Chicago. It's kind of cool."

However, Jones does have her concerns.

"I think the Dempster-Crawford intersection is going to be a nightmare," she said.

The new Walgreens store has a pharmacy exit sign that allows cars to only turn left onto Harding Avenue, leading them immediately to Dempster Street. However, cars may enter Walgreens from Harding while some motorists may ignore the exit sign altogether.

"It's already so busy right now. I'm already seeing cars cut through my street to bypass the traffic and I think it will only get worse once the new store opens."

The new store will be 13,125 square feet on a 42,000-square-foot parcel. While it will only be one story, it will stand 22-24 feet high, making it the equivalent of several multistory buildings.

To try and ease some of the traffic concerns, a team of architects and traffic engineers announced a new system for cars using the drive-through. Drivers will be directed westbound through a 22-foot alley onto Crawford, thus they will be unable to turn onto Harding Avenue. This had been a major source of consternation in the previous plan as residents along Harding were concerned about excess traffic coming onto that avenue.

Walgreens is also promising additional trees and signage to prevent cars from making illegal turns into the community. Company representatives also said they are working with the Illinois Department of Transportation to eventually have new sidewalks, streetlights and crosswalks at the intersection as well as a re-timed traffic signal. In addition, there were promises of that sketch of Dempster would be reconfigured for additional traffic considerations.

“We have taken that plan, incorporated your suggestions and improved that plan greatly,” said Edwin Vdovets, a real estate developer representing Walgreens at the meeting. “I don’t stand before you naïve enough to believe I will have everyone’s support on the Harding Avenue block, but that didn’t stop me from trying.”

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Paul N October 04, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Eventually Walgreens stores will be as big as Walmart....babysteps
Michael October 05, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Corrections: The article and a photo caption both say regarding the exit, "...turn left onto Harding Avenue, leading them immediately to Crawford Avenue." Harding connects with Dempster, not Crawford. Also a number of the paragraphs appear to be from the March 21, 2011 article and are now outdated and/or are in the wrong tense: "Drivers will be directed westbound through a 22-foot alley onto Crawford, thus they will be unable to turn onto Harding Avenue." "Under the plan, the existing shopping center would be torn down..."
George Slefo October 05, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Yikes! Michael, thank you for the correction. The article should now reflect your comment. Much appreciated. Best, George
Barbara Markovitz February 06, 2013 at 02:37 PM
I do not like this decision for Skokie to approve a huge Walgreens at the prior Tap location. I am very familiar with this area. In fact my next door neighbor use to bartend (never drank) at this location some 40 years ago. This is not Dempster like the other resident stated and will add congestion to a quiet residential area. This has been my drive through when previously taking my daughter to Niles North, or going to Old Orchard, or taking the Edens. This will definitely add to traffic accidents! This is a terrible idea! Obviously to compete with the CVS up North, just a few blocks away.

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