The Willy Street Co-op has finally released its long-awaited plans for a second store. The second site chosen is in Middleton, at the corner of University Avenue and Park Street, in a pre-existing shopping center. The store would move into the end space vacated by Walgreens, which built a new free-standing location some blocks east on University Avenue at Branch Street.
In a press release (PDF), Willy Street Co-op leaders detail the advantages of the location. Foremost among them: west-siders who currently make the trip to Willy Street to shop will be served, and over 40% of co-op's 20,000 owners "live outside the Williamson Street neighborhood" (although that is not broken down specifically to the west side of Madison or Middleton). The site is also close to Middleton's downtown and part of a walkable neighborhood.
The new store will create 95 new jobs, according to the press release. "If all goes as planned," the press release states, the store could be open by the fall of 2010.
The east-side co-op, founded in 1974, has been looking for a second site since 2007. The co-op first had interest in the site at Monroe Commons on Monroe Street that ultimately became Trader Joe's. The co-op then made plans to open a second store in the ground level of phase II of Metropolitan Place at Broom Street and Mifflin. The store was just weeks from getting off the ground when phase II of Metropolitan Place was foreclosed on and Willy Street withdrew from the project.
Middleton has a Copps grocery store at Middleton Hills, but has seen a Sentry store (the space is still vacant) close on Allen Boulevard. There is also a Brennan's specialty market at 5533 University Ave.
More information on neighborhood informational meetings is available in an open letter from general manager Anya Firszt.
A final decision will be made after the 15-day comment period and after that, the Co-op will start an owner bond drive.