By Kelly Youngblood
Common Ground Food Co-op has decided not to move forward with plans to open a second store in Champaign.
The CGFC board of directors voted on Aug. 10 to discontinue expansion plans based on “updated project cost estimates and financial projections.”
Julie Zilles, president of the board of directors, said they decided to update their market study and financial analysis this summer to ensure the project’s feasibility before kicking off the owner loan drive this fall.
“The decision not to move forward was made based on information contained in the updated financials,” Zilles said.
In a letter to co-op owners dated Aug. 13, the board of directors wrote, “the expansion project did not meet the required financial criteria necessary to confidently move forward.” (Read the full letter below.)
The total cost of building the Champaign store was estimated at $3.5 million.
A statement from Common Ground published last year indicated the co-op was working with the City of Champaign on getting a sales tax rebate for updates to the site.
The co-op was also trying to bring in 900 new owners, in addition to the almost 6,000 they had, before they could begin an owner loan campaign.
Common Ground, which has had a storefront at Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana since 2008, announced its decision in 2014 to open a second store in downtown Champaign.
The new co-op was supposed to be at 500 N. Walnut St, where Simply Amish is now located, and was projected to open this year.