KENWOOD — Ross Dress for Less will officially open on Friday in the Lake Park Pointe Shopping Center.
“It’s really a step in the right direction for Ross to be coming to the 4th Ward and the mid-South Side,” said Charis Tripplet, a spokeswoman for Ald. Will Burns.
Tripplet said the opening of Ross at 1300 E. 47th St. means residents of Kenwood and Hyde Park will no longer have to drive to stores on Roosevelt Road in the South Loop to buy simple items like a pair of socks.
New employees were busy in the store on Tuesday putting shirts on racks and other final touches of the store's conversion from selling groceries to clothing.
Ross was originally expected to open in the fall in a portion of the former Michael’s Fresh Market storefront. Michael’s closed in 2012 and laid off nearly 100 employees after the company filed for bankruptcy.
Ross will host a ribbon cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday to welcome the neighborhood to the 66,000-square-foot store.
The store fills only part of the hole left by Michael’s departure.
An 11,000-square-foot storefront on the 47th Street side of the shopping center is still looking for a tenant. Mid-America Real Estate is marketing the former lunch counter of the grocery store as having easy access to Lake Shore Drive and proximity to a mystery redevelopment at 1301 E. 47th St., home to L.A. Fitness and an Advocate medical clinic.
Neighbors have long speculated that the gym would be knocked down to make way for a Target or other big box retail store. The marketing materials from Mid-America are the first sign there may be some credence to the rumors.
Representatives from Mid-America were unavailable to clarify what “proposed big box retail” in the leasing brochure was planned for the site.
Owners of the property, Craig Golden and Scott Goodman, were not available to comment.
Golden and Goodman, who started the Blue Star Properties and Sterling Bay real estate investment companies, were praised by Crain’s Chicago Business last year as the rising stars of the real estate scene. The pair are behind deals to convert a 10-story cold storage building in Fulton Market into office space and a $100 million plan to modernize the River Center office building downtown.
Golden and Goodman have owned the L.A. Fitness and clinic since 2000 under the name 1301 East LLC, according to documents filed with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.
Speculation about redevelopment heated up in the fall when L.A. Fitness opened a new location in Hyde Park at the recently finished Harper Court development at 53rd Street and Lake Park Avenue.
Currently, L.A. Fitness has no plans to close its 47th Street location, and the gym’s parking lot has consistently been full during recent weeks.
Doctors at the neighboring clinic said Advocate has a long-term lease on the building.