CHICAGO (CBS) -- A new plan calls for a Mariano's Fresh Market grocery store, and as many as seven stories of apartments, at the long-vacant East Lakeview site where a Dominick's store burned down more than six years ago.
The development firm Valerio Dewalt Train Associates unveiled the plan to neighbors and property owners last week for the site at 3030 N. Broadway, according to neighborhood resident and community activist Bruce Alan Beal.
The plan calls for a two-story, 80,000 square-foot Mariano's store, and five stories of upscale rental apartments, for a total of seven stories, Beal said.
The apartments would have entrances on both Broadway and Waterloo Court, a short side street that runs on the west side of the site.
Beal reported that many condo board members at the building where he lives were impressed with the plan, as were many business and property owners. He said he was pleased that the developers had taken time to "talk with the neighbors and ask what they're thinking about."
Vivian King, spokeswoman for Mariano's Milwaukee-based parent company Roundy's Supermarkets, did not return a call asking about the plan.
The site has been vacant since Father's Day 2005, when the 34-year-old Dominick's grocery store at 3012 N. Broadway was destroyed in a raging 4-11 alarm fire. The blaze left one person slightly injured, and sent up a plume of thick smoke that could be seen for miles.
Afterward, the footprint of the Dominick's were fenced off, while motorists took advantage of free parking in the store's old lot until a pay system was set up earlier this year.
In 2008, ground was broken for a fancy new Dominick's on the site, and an upper-bracket condo development with units priced from $400,000 to $1.2 million above the store. Signs went up encouraging prospective buyers to "experience the excellence" of the new "Broadway 3030" development.
But the project fell apart a year later after its developers, Michael O'Connor and Jonathan Zitzman, defaulted on a mezzanine loan for the property. The land was sold at a bankruptcy auction.
Ultimately, Dominick's lost its lease on the site, and six-foot weeds began growing in the fenced-off space as out-of-date signs announcing the new store remained on display near the sidewalk.
The Dominick's/Broadway 3030 project also became a headache for Mayor Richard M. Daley's nephew, Robert Vanecko, and his business partner, Allison S. Davis. They invested $7.9 million in pension funds in the project, and ended up feuding with the developers and trying to find people to buy them out, according to past published reports.
Beal says leadership from the South East Lake View Neighbors Association will discuss the proposal at a meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at the Wellington Avenue Church, 615 W. Wellington Ave. Developers are also planning a formal presentation of their plans at the January meeting of the neighbors' group.
Mariano's Fresh Market is the local concept for the Roundy's Chain. This year, the store opened two Chicago city locations, opened at 3350 N. Western Ave. on the old site of the Riverview amusement park, and at 333 E. Benton Pl. in the Lakeshore East luxury high-rise development downtown.
Parent company Roundy's filed to go public with a $230 million IPO this past Monday.
The Broadway site where Mariano's would locate is just a couple of blocks north of the Broadway at Surf shopping center, where plans were announced this past spring for a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market store focused primarily on groceries. The planned store drew heated protests earlier this year from neighbors who expressed concern that it would decimate the many locally-owned small businesses along Broadway and other nearby commercial strips.
The proposed Wal-Mart would take over two vacant storefronts and kick out a popular Cost Plus World Market store in the shopping center. While plans for the Wal-Mart were unveiled some eight months ago, there have been no reports of Wal-Mart finalizing a lease for the space.
Adam Harrington, cbschicago.com
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