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Hairston, Mariano's CEO tour ward for grocery store sites
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Hairston, Mariano's CEO tour ward for grocery store sites

Posted on Tue, Aug 19, 2014

Jeffery site of Old Dominick's is out!


Roundy's CEO Bob Mariano toured prospective sites for a new store in South Shore on Monday. He was joined by Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), who has been critical of the lack of interest in replacing or reusing a vacant Dominick's grocery store in her ward. | Sun-Times files

Hairston, Mariano's CEO tour ward for grocery store sites

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 2:23pm

Fran Spielman


Three months ago, Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) said she felt “like I’m living in a part of the city that’s been cordoned off” after Mariano’s unveiled plans to build a new store in Bronzeville while a shuttered Dominick’s in South Shore remained vacant.

On Monday, all was apparently forgiven.

Hairston took Roundy's CEO Bob Mariano on a two-hour tour of seven prospective construction sites in her ward, and Mariano promised to get back to the city’s Department of Planning and Development with a decision in a few days.


The shuttered and still vacant Dominick’s store at 71st Street and Jeffrey Boulevard remains Chicago’s only shuttered Dominick’s that has yet to find a replacement grocer.

It still hasn't. Mariano and Hairston toured that shuttered store on Monday, along with Planning and Development Commissioner Andy Mooney and a real estate consultant hired by the city. But Mariano, who once worked there, rejected it.

Other sites, however, have not been ruled out. In a press release issued after the tour, Hairston noted that she initially had four sites in mind, but expanded the list to seven to “increase the odds” of enticing Mariano. The most attractive sites are located on Stony Island Avenue.

“We looked at property that is owned by the city and privately owned. What was interesting is to find out that Mariano wants 60,000 square feet for his stores. We also talked about the importance of egress and ingress to site locations,” Hairston was quoted as saying.

“If he decides on a site that is owned by the city, the project could move faster than one that is privately owned. Sears owns the site from 77th to 79th and Stony Island. The city owns both the 6800 and 6900 blocks.”

The 5th Ward tour also included a site at 60th and Stony Island.

Roundy's spokesman James Hyland could not be reached for comment on the tour.

Monday’s upbeat announcement was a far cry from Hairston’s attack on the day in May when Mariano and Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to build a new Mariano's store in Bronzeville.

On that day, Hairston said she was so incensed by Emanuel’s failure to go to bat for South Shore — and by what she called Emanuel’s North Side-centric development efforts — she was considering running for mayor.

“I feel like I’m living in a part of the city that’s been cordoned off. Every day, I drive by the vacant Dominicks’s in Jeffery Plaza and I’m wondering if we’re ever going to get a place to shop,” Hairston said then.

“Bob Mariano needs to meet with my constituents face-to-face and tell us why we’re not good enough for their company to consider moving to our ward. I’ve talked to his people. They have not explained why not. They have just said, 'Bob isn’t interested.' We should be jumping out. I’ve got more population surrounding my Dominick’s than the one at 39th and King.”

In a telephone interview after Monday’s tour, Hairston credited her earlier outburst with lighting a fire under City Hall and Mariano.

“I would not stop. I was persistent. I’m not gonna stop being persistent until I have the kind of ward my constituents deserve, with the goods and services they desire and all types of businesses that other thriving communities have,” the alderman said. “It obviously is a turning point. We actually had a face-to-face meeting and a ward tour.”

Earlier this month, the Emanuel administration awarded a $71,000 contract to D&K Real Estate Service Corp. to perform a “feasibility study and implementation strategy for the South Shore grocery store project.”

But, Hairston’s spokesperson Delmarie Cobb said, “We don’t need a feasibility study. Everybody knows she needs a grocery store. It’s more about developing a presentation [and saying], 'These are the demographics. This is what sales would be.' ”

Hairston's tirade after the Bronzeville store was announced in May wasn’t the first time she had unleashed her anger about the shuttered South Shore Dominick’s.

During City Council debate on the partial ban on plastic bags, Hairston said she was tired of focusing on such trivia while her community was “going to hell in a handbasket” because her residents “have to spend bus fare to get to the nearest grocer.”


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