“Mariano’s seemed interested,” Hairston told constituents at a 5th Ward meeting at Gary Comer College Prep. “Ultra seemed interested, but walked away from the table.”
The Dominick’s in Jeffrey Plaza closed Dec. 28 as part of sweeping closures of the grocery chain across the city and suburbs. Whole Foods, Mariano’s Fresh Market and other grocers have snatched up 11 of the 15 former Chicago Dominick’s locations.
She said the manager of Jeffrey Plaza plans to hold Dominick’s to its lease on the empty store through May 2015.
The shopping center is owned by Jeffrey Plaza Investors, part of a group of real estate investment companies run by Los Angeles-based film producers Kaymar Mateen and Bob Yari, who produced the movies “Crash,” “The Illusionist” and “Hostage.”
Hairston said the task force would continue to look for a tenant for the vacant 65,000-square-foot store.
Hairston said many grocers that seemed initially interested have backed away from opening in the South Shore storefront, which she said needs about $6 million in investment in freezers, shelving and other upgrades.
She said talks with Pete’s Fresh Market went nowhere, and Whole Foods and Treasure Island were not interested because of locations nearby in Hyde Park. She said Strack and Van Til and Trader Joe’s were also approached, but were not interested.
Residents said they were worried the area’s depiction as a violent neighborhood in the media was scaring away potential grocers.
“No one has brought that up,” Hairston said. “But they do look at the demographics.”
She said that of Dominick’s 15 Chicago locations, the South Shore location was the only one on the South Side in a predominantly black neighborhood.
“The talks are ongoing,” Hairston said. “We’re confident we’ll be able to attract a quality grocer that will sell us what we want."