New grocery concept, Costco to enliven East Ogden in Naperville
The dormant properties of East Ogden Avenue in Naperville are set to get a boost not only from the city's second Costco, but also from a new grocery store, Mayor Steve Chirico said during his fifth State of the City address.
Developer Thompson Thrift is working with a national company to build a 35,000-square-foot space for a new grocery concept on the former Fair Oaks Ford property on Ogden just west of Naper Boulevard, Chirico said as he gave the address virtually Monday to the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.
"Now, more than ever, we need to encourage responsible development in Naperville," Chirico said. "This type of investment brings jobs and commerce and boosts our tax base, and it is how we can move forward."
The old Fair Oaks site is near the Ogden Mall property, the current home of a vacant Kmart that has been closed since 2013 and the future home of the second Costco warehouse in Naperville. Costco plans to seek city council approval of its development plan for a store and gas station during a meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Efforts behind the scenes for the past several years also have brought other new additions to the East Ogden area, including the first U.S. location of the Australian Mexican restaurant Guzman y Gomez, a new Culver's and an early learning center called KLA School. Farther west on Ogden, businesses have spruced up old sites with an Andy's Custard, Burrito Parrilla Mexicana and a new strip mall including a Starbuck's.
"Focusing on the opportunities in this area instead of its challenges has led to creative solutions," Chirico said.
Another of these is in the works just east of the Fair Oaks Ford site, where Northbrook-based developer MZ Capital Partners is building 112 "micro apartments," or small studio units, on the site of the now-demolished Regency Inn motel.
"This was a unique chance to move the needle on the topic of affordable housing," Chirico said.
Chirico listed these as examples of economic progress while he addressed a virtual crowd because of the COVID-19 pandemic in the chamber's 30th annual State of the City meeting.
He praised the city's resilience and said now is the time to reinvest in infrastructure, the local economy, the city government as an organization, shared values and the broader community to move into a new future post-pandemic.
"Our infrastructure. Our economy. Our organization. Our values. Our community. Together, these are the unshakable foundations of Naperville's future," Chirico said. "And together, these are the foundations of a city whose residents care about one another. Our future may look a little different now, but what hasn't changed is the kindness, compassion and generosity I see every day."