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Mariano's to Open Store in Bronzeville

By Ted Cox | May 14, 2014 8:54am
 Flanked by architect Phil Johnson and supermarket owner Bob Mariano, Mayor Rahm Emanuel welcomes a Mariano's to Bronzeville.
Flanked by architect Phil Johnson and supermarket owner Bob Mariano, Mayor Rahm Emanuel welcomes a Mariano's to Bronzeville.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

BRONZEVILLE — Mariano's plans to open a store at Pershing Road and King Drive, with construction to begin next year.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel made the announcement Wednesday in Bronzeville with Roundy's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bob Mariano.

Ald. William Burns (4th) called it a symbol of "the continued renaissance of a great community."

Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) cheered Mariano for "your commitment to our community."

Emanuel said that, in his efforts to address "food deserts," Bronzeville felt "passed over." Yet he lauded the investment in the community and said he had told Mariano, "I'll help you anywhere, but you have to be everywhere."

In October, the mayor and Mariano cheered the opening of a new Mariano's in the South Loop. The mayor has pledged to work to address so-called food deserts across the city, but especially on the South Side.

The news didn't cheer everyone, however. Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), who has been dealing with a shuttered Dominick's at 71st Street and Jeffrey Boulevard, called on Mariano's to reconsider opening at that location.

"While the company’s first South Side location, at 31st and Ashland, was also a vacant Dominick’s, this new store is being built from the ground," Hairston said. "How is it that Mariano’s can pledge to the mayor to work to address so-called food deserts, but won’t give my constituents the time of day?"

Hairston called on Mariano to "meet with my constituents face to face and tell us why we are not good enough for his company to consider moving to our ward."

Mariano echoed the mayor in saying he was committed to serving all of Chicago, but added that he was still working on South Shore, saying, "You can only do so much at one time."

The Bronzeville Mariano's is expected to add 400 jobs to the local economy, with construction slated to start next year. Mariano's is pushing to create more than 10,000 jobs in the city and suburbs since the former Dominick's executive started his own chain of supermarkets just four years ago. He said of the 9,000 jobs already created, 3,500 have been in Chicago.

The new store would sit on the former site of the Chicago Housing Authority's Ida B. Wells Homes and will be designed by Phil Johnson of Johnson and Lee Architects, who recently designed the Ping Tom Boathouse in Chinatown. It's expected to spur additional development on the 47-acre Ida B. Wells site.

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