West Siders could buy cheaper gas closer to home

June 25, 2013
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A grocery store in Austin would be able to sell discounted gas under a proposal approved last week by the Chicago Plan Commission.

The Food4Less at 4821 W. North Ave., the southwest corner of North and Cicero avenues, wants to build a 10-pump gas station.

“The community is very excited about this project; it’s a $1.4 million investment that will create four to six new jobs for people in the community as well as 40 to 50 new jobs for people during the construction process,” said Bridget O’Keefe, a land use zoning attorney with the firm Daspin & Aument.

There are 16 Food4Less grocery stores in Chicagoland; eight of those stores have existing fuel stations, while two others are under construction.

If the Chicago City Council gives its approval, the Austin fueling station would be the 11th in the greater Chicago area.

The grocery store chain held two public meetings to discuss the fueling station, and residents were excited about being able to buy discounted gas close to home, O’Keefe said.

“They’re sick of having to go to the suburbs for discounted gas,” she told commissioners June 20th before they unanimously approved the project.

Unlike wholesalers like Costco and Sam’s Club, Food4Less doesn’t require customers to pay an annual membership fee to buy gas.

“Our fuel rewards program has become an important piece of our go-to-market strategy as we attempt to create value for our customers,” David Koppenhafer, Midwest rest estate manager for Food4Less, said in an e-mail.

Customers can save 10 cents per gallon for every $100 in grocery purchases made each month, and customers who have the store’s fuel saver card can save 3 cents per gallon.

The gas station will include a manned kiosk, restrooms and be no taller than the buildings already in the area. It will be built between the Skecher’s shoe store and a Wendy’s.

The grocery store’s parking lot will be reduced from 860 spaces to 823 spaces – still more than the required 785 spaces.

“After heavy internal consideration and surveying existing parking utilization, we felt comfortable that the removal of the proposed parking spaces wouldn’t adversely affect our store operations,” Koppenhafer said.

Ten new trees will also be added to the site to meet the city’s landscape ordinance.

Inside Food4Less, there will be improvements, including renovations to the bakery and the addition of a seafood department.

The city council’s zoning committee could consider the proposal today when it meets.

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