The city of Chicago’s grocery store task force has laid out key priorities as it seeks to support efforts to re-occupy nine grocery locations that remain vacant due to the late December closing of 15 Dominick’s food stores across the city, Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently announced.
“The task force’s number one priority is to get these buildings filled as quickly as possible with grocers or other businesses that nearby residents can continue to depend upon for daily needs, services, and jobs,” Emanuel said.
The task force was formed by the mayor after Dominick’s parent company, Safeway Inc., revealed in November that it was pulling out of the Chicago-area market by the end of 2013. Since then, Mariano’s Fresh Market announced that it would take over three Chicago locations, Jewel-Osco announced plans for two locations, and Cermak Fresh Market reportedly acquired one location, leaving nine stores unaccounted for.
The 20-member task force is led by Deputy Mayor Steve Koch with support from Alds. Pat O’Connor (40th), Joe Moore (49th) and Leslie Hairston (5th).
Having convened its first meeting of the new year, the task force is focusing its efforts on five of the remaining nine store locations that, to date, have no firm plans for redevelopment. The stores are located in the South Shore, West Ridge, Norwood Park, Lincoln Square, and Near North Side communities. While the situation remains fluid, the task force has prioritized these five stores even as it monitors the ongoing efforts with the other three stores.
While each location has re-use potential for a grocery-related business, industry experts have identified specific issues that could limit their viability or deter a potential operator from investing in the sites.
In response, the task force is engaging grocery store chains and independent operators with information about public resources that would facilitate their lease or acquisition of the properties. It is also working to ensure Safeway considers these issues and community needs as the company considers private offers for each location.
“We’re currently targeting about a dozen local and national grocers, each of which has the capacity to expand into one or more of these locations,” said task force member Andrew Mooney, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development. “We’re making sure they recognize the buying power that’s represented, what public resources are available, and how their investment would cater to the needs of area customers.”
While Jewel and Mariano’s have re-hired workers from the closed stores, the task force continues to monitor employment assistance being made available to former Dominick’s employees in conjunction with their union representatives and the Chicago-Cook Workforce Partnership, which has provided a series of rapid response employment workshops.
The 15 Chicago Dominick’s locations are:
6623 N DAMEN AVE, Chicago, 60645, Ward 50
3145 S ASHLAND AVE, Chicago, 60608, Ward 11, will become a Roundy’s
6312 N NAGLE AVE, Chicago, 60646, Ward 41
6009 N BROADWAY, Chicago, 60660, Ward 48
2101 E 71ST ST, Chicago, 60649, Ward 05
2550 N CLYBOURN AVE, Chicago, 60614, Ward 32, Jewel
1340 S CANAL ST, Chicago, 60607, Ward 02, Jewel
424 W DIVISION ST, Chicago, 60610, Ward 27
1763 W HOWARD ST, Chicago, 60626, Ward 49
255 E GRAND AVE, Chicago, 60611, Ward 42
1 N HALSTED ST, Chicago, 60661, Ward 27
5233 N LINCOLN AVE, Chicago, 60625, Ward 40
5201 N SHERIDAN RD, Chicago, 60640, Ward 48, Roundy’s
2021 W CHICAGO AVE, Chicago, 60622, Ward 01, Roundy’s
959 W FULLERTON AVE, Chicago, 60614, Ward 43