New TargetExpress in Chicago’s Streeterville Neighborhood Is Ideal

As chain big box stores go, I’ve long-favored Target. But few Target stores stray from the typical suburban big box. Many years ago I visited the 2-story Target in NW Seattle, a decade ago a new Target replaced an older Target in the City of St. Louis with parking below …

North Halsted Home Depot

Big box retailers long had a standard formula: cheap building surrounded by acres of surface parking. More than a decade ago they began to experiment with new designs as they entered urban locations where land prices & population density meant acres of surface parking wasn’t possible. I recall seeing the …

Abundance of MV-1 Accessible Taxicabs

One of the things we love when we’re in Chicago is the wide variety of vehicles used for taxicab service. In St. Louis most are old Ford Crown Vics. St. Louis has three accessible vans for wheelchairs — not three types, but three total! Last year this was down to …

Launching New Blog Focused On Chicago

Eleven years ago today I started UrbanReview | ST LOUIS — A look at public policy, urban planning and related politics in the St. Louis region. That blog was started because a month earlier my father had a heart attack while driving. He lived another 18 months, but that first month I …

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New TargetExpress in Chicago’s Streeterville Neighborhood Is Ideal

February 17, 2016 Featured No Comments

As chain big box stores go, I’ve long-favored Target. But few Target stores stray from the typical suburban big box. Many years ago I visited the 2-story Target in NW Seattle, a decade ago a new Target replaced an older Target in the City of St. Louis with parking below the store.  Better, but big with lots of free parking.

In July 2012 a CityTarget opened in the former Carson Pirie Scott department store building at State & Madison, designed by Louis Sullivan in 1899.   It’s a terrific store — smaller than most Targets but it covers the basics well. Zero parking. Still, it’s 1.3 miles from the condo where we stay while in Chicago. Too far to stop by quickly for a few things.

In October 2015 the new Streeterville TargetExpress opened at 401 E Illinois St, Chicago, IL — just 4/10ths of a mile away — under a 10 minute walk.

The new Streeterville Target
The new Streeterville Target

The space had previously been occupied by organic grocer Fox & Obel, which closed in October 2013:

In court filings last month, Fox & Obel said that it planned to shut down permanently and sell all assets after its heavy debt made it impossible to maintain operations. The grocer said it received notice that its electricity would be shut off, forcing it to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Fox & Obel closed for a time earlier this year after at least a half-dozen failed health inspections.

Despite its trouble, the store still had a loyal following. (Chicago Tribune)

Fox & Obel closed before we began staying in Streeterville. Besides, for a nearby market we like Treasure Island Foods at 680 N. Lake Shore Drive.  In July 2014 Whole Foods announced it would open a Streeterville location — it opened in late January 2015. The grocery market it good.

The entrance
The entrance
Open until midnight!
Open until midnight!
Long walkway ramps up to main floor level
Long walkway ramps up to main floor level
The Starbucks cafe is near the entrance
The Starbucks cafe is near the entrance
The first Target where you can get a drink -- but you must consume within the cafe -- can't take it around the rest of the store.
The first Target where you can get a drink — but you must consume within the cafe — can’t take it around the rest of the store.
It's well stocked
It’s well stocked
I'm sure the pharmacy will be popular
I’m sure the pharmacy will be popular
Looking from pharmacy past housewares toward food
Looking from pharmacy past housewares toward food
Looking from food back toward the front of the store
Looking from food back toward the front of the store
The checkout area, you wait in line for the next cashier. Or use the self-check registers.
The checkout area, you wait in line for the next cashier. Or use the self-check registers.

It’s not the biggest, nor the fanciest, but it’s very convenient. It’s the ideal Target for the neighborhood.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

North Halsted Home Depot

November 11, 2015 Featured No Comments

Big box retailers long had a standard formula: cheap building surrounded by acres of surface parking. More than a decade ago they began to experiment with new designs as they entered urban locations where land prices & population density meant acres of surface parking wasn’t possible. I recall seeing the Home Depot on N. Halsted under construction — I just can’t recall when. I do know it was open by March 2005:

The company has eight stores in the city, including a unique two-story, storefront-style location at 2665 N. Halsted St.

Like Target, Home Depot knows the value of a flexible footprint. That gives it more options in working its way closer to the urbanite customers it craves. The Halsted store doesn’t sell much lumber; it focuses on the tools and interior design products that North Side condo owners shop for.

A lot of city neighborhoods fit Home Depot’s demographic, which is neither wealthy nor poor. The main thing: plenty of homeowners. “Home Depot is looking for bungalow city,” says Mr. Kirsch of Baum Realty. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

Though I’d been past it numerous times since it opened, I never went inside. Last month my husband and I needed something from a hardware store. He called a couple of local places near the Streeterville condo where we stay while in Chicago but they didn’t have what we needed. Looking at transit to the various locations we decided the N. Halsted location would be the easiest.

The Home Depot on N. Halsted in Lincoln Park was built more than a decade ago.
The Home Depot on N. Halsted in Lincoln Park was built more than a decade ago.
The garage entry/exit is recessed from the sidewalk
The garage entry/exit is recessed from the sidewalk
The store has two interior levels
The store has two interior levels
Rooftop garden on 4
Rooftop garden on 4
The front of the 2-story store is mostly glass, the is on the 2nd floor
The front of the 2-story store is mostly glass, the is on the 2nd floor
The rooftop garden on 4. Parking is on 3 and the balance of 4
The rooftop garden on 4. Parking is on 3 and the balance of 4

The question is how do we get urban retail to take more urban form in areas where land isn’t so expensive? Can a city, like St. Louis, through zoning or incentives, create an atmosphere where retailers are willing to invest in more expensive buildings with structured parking?

 

— Steve Patterson

 

Abundance of MV-1 Accessible Taxicabs

November 4, 2015 Featured No Comments

One of the things we love when we’re in Chicago is the wide variety of vehicles used for taxicab service. In St. Louis most are old Ford Crown Vics. St. Louis has three accessible vans for wheelchairs — not three types, but three total! Last year this was down to just two.

The ramp manually of the MV-1 slides out from under the floor.
The ramp manually of the MV-1 slides out from under the floor.

In Chicago we often see the MV-1 on the streets. This vehicle was built to be accessible:

In the past, if you needed a wheelchair-accessible vehicle you had to start with a completed minivan, cut it apart, put it back together and hope for the best.  The result was an after-market vehicle with questionable durability and passenger safety concerns. Enter the MV-1, a completely new concept that has been a long time coming: build a wheelchair accessible vehicle from the ground up that is designed for commercial fleet use. Take a tour of the Mobility Ventures MV-1 and see how we’re revolutionizing passenger safety in accessible fleet transportation.

I’ve yet to ride in one — with or without my wheelchair. We see them often, will need to hail or schedule one on a future visit.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Launching New Blog Focused On Chicago

October 31, 2015 Featured No Comments

Eleven years ago today I started UrbanReview | ST LOUIS — A look at public policy, urban planning and related politics in the St. Louis region. That blog was started because a month earlier my father had a heart attack while driving. He lived another 18 months, but that first month I needed a distraction.  Blogging was a perfect fit for me.

Today I’m launching a similar blog with a focus on Chicago, but the reason is far more posiyive. In 2014 a friend bought a small condo in the Streeterville neighborhood, she generously allows family and close personal friends to use it. My husband and I have been four times this year, and I’ll be back for two more days & nights next month. My photos are now nearly 2,000 in number.

Having lived in St. Louis for 25+ years now, I’ve been to Chicago often. A cousin lives in a Western suburb, and visiting IKEA was a routine. My husband was born in Chicago and lived there until he was almost 9.

Our first trip to Chicago together was August 2013, to celebrate his birthday. We returned in 2014 & 2015 — a new tradition. In 2014 we started another tradition — visiting the annual Chicago Auto Show. In February we arrive via Amtrak — our 2016 trip is already booked. We drive up once a year, though parking in Streeterville is expensive.  Other trips are via Megabus. Because of a 2008 stroke I often use a wheelchair — I can’t walk far.

We love exploring, locating a corner vendor selling elote, seeing the building where his grandparents ran a tavern, or checking out the two parks being considered for the Obama Library — Washington & Jackson.

Washington Park
Washington Park

I post six days per week at UrbanReview | ST LOUIS — don’t expect that here. Still getting the blog configured, but Facebook & Twitter are set up.

— Steve Patterson