When Garey and Niki Potamianos learned Costco would be opening just across 26th Street in North Riverside, they were excited. No more long treks to Oakbrook Terrace or Melrose Park. Now Costco was two minutes away, barring a slow-moving train getting in between them and the warehouse.
As construction progressed, they grew decidedly less enthusiastic. And when the lights went on in the parking lot and on the wall signs more recently, their mood soured again.
It was all you could see from the front window.
“I have no problem with a business doing what they want to promote their business,” said Garey Potamianos, “but as neighbors, it would be kind of nice to do something neighborly.”
Like screen the view a bit.
Potamianos has emailed Costco officials to see if the company might consider planting some evergreen trees along 26th Street — if not on the North Riverside side, then on the Riverside side — to obscure the view.
The last email he received from Costco official Brian Thomas was cordial but not entirely satisfactory. While Thomas said the company would address issues related to parking lot lighting, more plantings appeared to be off the table.
“I believe the landscaping that is going in is 5 percent more than what the [North Riverside] city covenants are, and this will help beautify the 26th Street side of the property,” Thomas wrote.
He did not respond prior to press time to an email from the Landmark about the company supporting additional screening.
Potamianos isn’t alone in his displeasure with the new view. Other residents of Parkway Road, where the Potamianoses lives, say they miss the previous view. Because the former Edward Don warehouse was set farther back from 26th Street and farther east, it was barely visible. Its unobtrusive architecture helped camouflage the building.
“It blended into obscurity,” Potamianos said.
Now, according to his next-door neighbor, Bob Maloney, the view has changed completely.
“From my front window, that’s all you see,” said Maloney, who has lived on Parkway Road for 12 years. “I never thought I’d be in this situation.”
The view also upsets Richard Leo, who has lived on Parkway Road for 33 years.
“It’s 100 times brighter,” Leo said. “When Edward Don was there, you never knew they were there. It’s intrusive is what it is.”
Potamianos emphasized he’s not against Costco being located where it is. He and his wife are still planning on patronizing the store; they were among the hundreds of curious shoppers on hand Sunday evening for a store preview event.
But he and his neighbors are concerned the view will erode their property values. And they miss the old view.
“I’m just trying to get some dialogue rolling,” Potamianos said. “To Costco it may seem trivial, but this is our life. Our property values I’m sure have been diminished.”
Reached last week about the issue, Riverside Village Manager Peter Scalera said he was unaware of the resident concerns and was unprepared to suggest a solution without more information. But he encouraged the residents to make their concerns known to the village.
“If he reached out to us about the problem, we could look at it and see if there’s anything we can do,” said Scalera.