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A New Local Food Co-Op Could Come To Wilson Red Line's Historic Gerber Building

By Rachel Cromidas in Food on Apr 13, 2017 8:36PM

Wilson Red Line station, photo by Matt Tuteur/Chicagoist

Chicago Market, a long-in-the-works North Side food co-op that would feature local, organic food, is looking to locate its grocery store in the historic building underneath the Wilson Red Line CTA station.

As the Tribune first reported, Chicago Market is one of the prospective tenants for the building, known as the Gerber Building, which is undergoing extensive rehabilitation as the CTA upgrades the Wilson station. The one-story, 13,000 square foot building with its distinct stone facade and beaux arts detailing, has been vacant for years, and some are hoping new retail or entertainment options in the building will help anchor the neighborhood's North Broadway retail corridor. The building was built in 1907 by architect Arthur Gerber, and the CTA is restoring it as part of its $203 million renovation project.

"The Gerber Building is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Chicago Market," Chicago Market's Board of Directors President Grant Kessler said in a press release. "We hope to bring a destination grocery store, owned by the community, to Uptown."

Wilson Red Line station, photo by Matt Tuteur/Chicagoist

Chicago Market organizers have been working to bring the co-op to a North Side neighborhood since 2014, and have so far signed on close to 900 owners. Owners pay for lifetime memberships that will allow them to receive grocery store discounts once the physical space is up and running—Logan Square's Dill Pickle Co-op functions in a similar manner out of its Northwest Side storefront. In the meantime, Chicago Market hosts pop-up events around the city.

Ald. James Cappleman expressed his support for the market being located in the Gerber building on Facebook Thursday, writing: "I'm proud to say that I joined Chicago Market a few years ago and became their 500th member when I was at the Buena Park Neighbors meeting. Chicago Market would be a great addition to the neighborhood!"

Chicago Market is looking for community support for its bid for the location, with an online petition that recently launched. As organizers note, the co-op will likely be competing with "national fast food stores and other chains with deep pockets" to win a spot in the building.