Lake Zurich's first marijuana dispensary aims for spring opening
If all goes according to plan, Bloc, the first marijuana store in Lake Zurich's history, will open to customers by the end of April.
The village board voted 4-1 earlier this month to allow the plan to convert the old TGI Fridays restaurant on South Rand Road near Costco into a marijuana shop, which will sell to both medical-use and recreational customers.
Mitchell Zaveduk, the vice president of real estate for Justice Cannabis Co., the Chicago-based company that operates the chain of Bloc stores, said the company is designing the store and will soon submit plans to village staff.
After the village approves building permits, Zaveduk said the company will likely first work on the building's interior over the winter and then move outside once the weather is warmer.
He said changes to the existing building will be cosmetic, including removing TGI Fridays' traditional red awning and adding Bloc's logo.
Jon Loevy, a co-founder of Justice Cannabis Co., said he wants the Lake Zurich location to be a flagship for the Bloc chain. Zaveduk said the company is busy opening stores in Michigan, Missouri and New Jersey and has targeted opening others in Rockford and the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago.
He said the store's name comes from the idea of it being part of a neighborhood.
"It's all about being part of the block," Zaveduk said. "When you come to the dispensary, you're just going down the block."
Zaveduk said when the store is up and running it will be a part of village events such as Rock the Block, the annual block party in Lake Zurich's downtown.
"We want the name to be recognized with the community," Zaveduk said. "We will be involved in community activities."
The village board approved the plan to open Bloc at a short meeting on Nov. 1. Discussion of whether legal pot should be sold on Rand Road was rather subdued: No member of the public spoke out for or against the proposal, most village board members declined to ask any questions of the petitioners, and the entire board meeting wrapped up in less than a half-hour.
Trustee Marc Spacone cast the only dissenting vote. Spacone, a principal at Larson Middle School in Elgin, said previously that he would vote against the plan because he believed the presence of the dispensary would lead to more kids using drugs.
Voting in favor of the plan were Mary Beth Euker, Janice Gannon, Jonathan Sprawka and Greg Weider.
That the village board would approve a marijuana dispensary seemed like a long shot as recently as September 2019 when the board imposed a one-year moratorium on creating rules for dispensaries.
In December 2020, the board approved the current rules for dispensaries. Those mandate that dispensaries be established a minimum of 500 feet from a school, day care or group home; 250 feet from a park, and 1,500 feet away from another dispensary.