Construction for the new Oberweis store near the intersection of Dempster Street and Skokie Boulevard should be complete by the end of the week, according to a site manager Patch spoke with on Monday. It is unclear when the restaurant will be open for business.
It has been about seven months since the village first approved plans for the construction of Oberweis' concept store. The business will be considered one of Oberweis' flagship restaurants, selling ice cream, shakes and even hamburgers with their new addition of "That Burger Joint," which will be attached as part of the new Oberweis store.
The village has done a lot to bring an anchor like Oberweis to West Dempster. The Village of Skokie forcibly purchased Value Transmission, once at 4829 Dempster St., in Sept. 2010, for $825,000. It took the village about seven years to purchase the property from the owner, Avery Tarshis, the Chicago Tribune reported. Prior to the purchase, Tarshis was at his location for 22 years. He is now several blocks east on Dempster Street.
Nevertheless, Oberweis is expected to be an anchor to a once desolate area; the village has acquired a variety of businesses since their revitalization plan. There's now a Papa John's Pizza, Sinbad Persian Rugs, a new gas station and two new restaurants near Gross Point Road and Dempster Street.
Meanwhile, Kaufman's Deli is getting a complete overhaul and is expected to be open in the
Yet some say Oberweis got too sweet of a deal.
The store is not expected to dramatically change Skokie’s incoming sales tax revenue. (If Oberweis were to have $1.5 million in annual sales, that would produce $30,000 for the village. While important, that won't make much of a change in an approximate $48 million annual budget.)
However, village officials are hoping this store will be a foundation of a West Dempster Street renaissance. The east – west corridor was once a bustling area, but in recent years has been a victim of the anemic economy and is now riddled with many empty storefronts and some vacant land.
To catalyze the turn around, the village acquired what had been two small properties around 4811 Dempster St. through eminent domain, and sold them as one parcel.
“Hopefully people will see the Oberweis being successful and they can see West Dempster can come back,” said Tom Thompson, Skokie’s Economic Development Director in February.
How optimistic should the village be about the prospects about a West Dempster street revival?
Somewhat, but not overboard, according to one expert.
“One store by itself is not going to turn things around,” said Suzanne Fogel, chairwoman of the DePaul University Marketing Department, who specializes in consumer behavior. “But it is better than having an empty lot. It could attract people to stop and the best outcome would be if other businesses saw there was activity there and they decided to come along as well.”
Daniel I. Dorfman contributed to this article