Trader Joe's coming to Evanston
After years of speculation and one false start, Trader Joe’s has signed a lease for an Evanston grocery store that it expects to open in early 2013, officials said in a press release this morning.

It will replace the former Blockbuster video at 1211 Chicago Ave. Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl plans to make an announcement at 1 p.m.

The company says the Evanston store will be its 14th Illinois location. In 2008 it had considered opening in a development at 1890 Maple Ave., but the deal failed to materialize.

The Chicago Avenue standalone retail location is approximately 13,000 square feet, officials said.

Scott Gendell, president of Wilmette-based developer Terraco, confirmed Thursday that his company had recently purchased the site, but said he couldn’t comment on the future tenant. Terry Upton, of Upton Properties, the building’s previous owner, said he previously tried to negotiate a lease with Trader Joe’s, but was unsuccessful.

Like its other quirky grocery stores, the Evanston Trader Joe’s is scheduled to offer beer and wine and feature “a festive décor that mixes traditional Trader Joe’s elements such as cedar covered walls and Hawaiian motifs, combined with a local flair that includes art celebrating the neighborhood,” according to a statement from the company.