We at Albany Park Neighbors are excited to welcome businesses and entrepreneurs into our community who are responsive to community needs and concerns.
Our members love to talk up local businesses to neighbors within the community and to friends beyond the area. Another great benefit of the Albany Park community is its density and diversity. Our community is home to more than 50,000 residents from all around the globe, with below-average rates of households in poverty and unemployment. Albany Park also ranks in the bottom third of communities in violent crime (46th of 77), ranks 63rd out of 77 communities for property crime, and is 55th out of 77 communities for quality-of-life crime.
While our area is well-known for a wealth of delicious and affordable ethnic restaurants, our community has many other business opportunities for entrepreneurs who wish to be the first kind of business in the area, instead of one of many in a trendy or tony area.
Characteristics of Development
Albany Park’s commercial strips are full of lovely old buildings dating back to the birth of the neighborhood. Street-level retail is the norm in our community—and that characteristic is emerging as a key indicator of sustainable local economic development.
Our densely packed community features ample access to transit via the Brown Line and numerous busses, while our high proportion of teens and young adults foster a flourishing cycling community. We encourage pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly development such as limited parking lots, minimal curb cuts, and bike rack availability. In addition, our group advocates for the installation of bike-sharing programs, plus on-street biking infrastructure.
What We Want
(Here’s a list of business types we believe would flourish in the Albany Park community due to long pent-up demand, as well as the diverse mix of ethnicities, ages, and incomes present. Businesses with street-level retail and limited parking preferred.)
- Fine and “finer” dining (date-night restaurants with a moderate price point)
- Wine bar
- Neighborhood coffee shops/independents (Starbucks locations on Kedzie at Wilson, near NPU on Foster, and at Lawrence/Pulaski)
- Frozen yogurt/pastry shops (we have a thriving paleteria community, but we like sugar from all around the world)
- Fitness center/gym (AP has just one small gym, and fitness-minded individuals drive to other ‘hoods)
- Music store/record store/book store that also offers lessons/classes (Preferably with a secondhand section and multilingual stock)
- Toy store (We have dollar stores, but few other outlets)
- Second-hand clothing/books/music (a curated selection, similar to Portage Park’s Thrift & Thrive)
- Craft brewery/gastropub (Overwhelmingly, people want a few comfortable bars/lounges)
- Family breakfast spot (Not 24-hour, but similar to Alps East on Elston)
- Beauty parlor/salon (We need a place to get modern, stylish haircuts and color)
What We Don’t Want
(Below is a list of specific business types we are not encouraging. Largely, this is due to a number of these establishments already present in the Albany Park community causing a deleterious impact on overall quality of life. Discourage set-back retail, front parking, wide curb cuts, LED/fluorescent signage, cluttered visual merchandising.)
- Pawnshops/”Buy Gold” Shops
- Adult Entertainment & Nightclubs
- Pool halls
- Auto-centric businesses (auto parts stores, car washes, car repair, rims, etc.)
- Liquor stores
- Convenience stores
- Nail salons/$5 haircut parlors