An application by the CVS Pharmacy at 3333 Central St. was held in the Administration and Public Works Committee on Oct. 27 for reasons having nothing to do with the application itself. Instead, two members of the Committee held the measure because of CVS’s refusal to sign a letter of credit needed by the owners of Little Beans Café, at Oakton Street and Asbury Avenue, in order to complete its Small Business Administration loan process.
“I am asking for a good neighbor policy from CVS,” said Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, who has sought a new occupant for the property there since it became vacant in 2005.
“You are absolutely putting a hitch in our giddy-up,” said Alderman Coleen Burrus, whose Ninth Ward is generally north of Oakton Street but dips south between Barton and Florence avenues to include the Little Beans site. She stared at CVS representatives in council chambers as she spoke.
“You are coming and asking for something” on Central Street in north Evanston “while at the same time hurting us in another part of town,” continued Ald. Burrus. City Council, she said, takes a “360 degree view” and considers the entire City when making decisions.
City officials spoke with CVS before the meeting, said Ald. Rainey, “and we’ve gotten nowhere… My information as of ten to six tonight is they’re absolutely refusing” to sign the letter of credit.
The letter of credit, Ald. Rainey said, is for $200,000 that CVS has already agreed to provide Little Beans. As part of the lease negotiations, CVS agreed to partially fund some interior renovations costs. The Small Business Administration, said Ald. Rainey, requires Little Beans to provide proof of funding for interior renovations before SBA will grant Little Beans a loan.
“CVS is absolutely refusing, which is shutting down this whole operation,” said Ald. Rainey. “I would like to set this [liquor license application] aside for one meeting so perhaps CVS will realize that we have to work together in this town… this is absolutely a stab in the heart that this is happening.”
As of Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m., Ald. Rainey said that there had been no progress, and CVS remained adamant in their refusal to sign the Little Beans letter of credit required by the SBA.