I felt the same way as you, efi, until I went to one of the newer 2-story versions. The original one on Western felt like a lot of hype (and overcrowded and expensive) - and while the newer ones are still overcrowded and expensive, they are at least pretty cool to look at and have a really fantastic salad bar / hot bar / BBQ / grill area (plus a bar :)). The one on Western has less ammenities.
I think I'm the only one who kinda feels the same way about Trader Joe's. It's always a horrible parking lot whichever one you go to, I find it overpriced and overcrowded, and spotty on what they have/weirdly laid out. I find myself always having to go somewhere else to finish up my grocery list with things I can't get at TJ's.
But again, I think I'm the only one who feels that way (and my personal comparison is always Strack and Van Til where I can personally always get everything I need and for a pretty good price and is super convenient with great parking).
And either way, I'd MUCH prefer either of those options to the Mega Mall. I feared I'd never see the day it closed down and feel exhilarated that day may be coming!
Trader Joes is not meant to be a full service supermarket, its more of a specialty store. Never expect to make your entire grocery shopping at TJs, its not meant to be that way, so you will always be disappointed if you do. I always wonder what people mean when they complain about "overpriced" groceries. Do people realize how much money is invested into putting those groceries in the store? Im originally from California, where most of the produce comes from, and I can assure you that prices here are VERY reasonable here. I personally would like to see a Trader Joes or a World Market. Or a good, independent grocery store.
Trader joe's will never be a stand alone store, which it would be in that location. There has been talk of one opening on division in wicker park. If that does happen there is no way they would open another location that close. Also, trader joes isn't meant to be a one stop shop. Their business practice is to keep prices low and by carrying everything normal stores do the over head would be to great.
I'm glad something is finally going to go into the mega mall space, which has now been vacant for years. And believe me, I would absolutely LOVE having a TJ's or Mariano's half a block from my apartment. Thing is, if it does end up being a grocery store, there's no doubt that a lot of people will be driving there, and where exactly are all these cars going to park?