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Construction of new Loop L stop leaving some businesses on shaky ground

A block-long stretch of Wabash Avenue is closed in the Loop for a CTA construction project, and business owners are concerned their bottom lines will take a hit.

Harshad Sheth, a partner at Mon Ami Jewelry, said business is down about 10 percent since the street closed in mid-March, and he worries the slide will continue.

“No one’s happy about it,” said Sheth, who’s spoken informally to other business owners about the problem. He said he has no plans to complain to the city because he knows the project is needed.

Wabash closed last month along Jewelers Row between Washington and Madison streets as the CTA combines two “L” stops to form a new $75 million station at Wabash and Washington. The project is expected to take 18 months.

“As long as the sidewalk remains open, we’re hopeful it won’t affect a lot,” Sheth said.

Another jeweler, who asked not to be named, was concerned people would not be able to see his business when the city puts up a protective canopy over part of the sidewalk.

The canopy might also kill business at restaurant owner Bobby Giotakis’ sidewalk patio.

“But I recognize the importance of the project in the long run,” said Giotakis, who owns Pittsfield Cafe.

Travel times should improve with one fewer stop on the east leg of the Loop L. The project is being managed by the Chicago Department of Transportation.