HYDE PARK — The owner of Jeffery Plaza said he is trying to replace the shuttered Dominick’s in his mall as quickly as possible and rejected 5th Ward Ald. Leslie Hairston’s and other city officials' claims that he is blocking tenants from moving in.
“We want to fill up the space as soon as possible at a cost that is justified,” said Shervin Mateen, CEO of Cannon Commercial.
At a Tuesday meeting, Hairston told South Shore residents that Mateen “only cares about his profit,” and was not cooperating with leasing the former grocery store at 71st Street and Jeffery Boulevard.
On Thursday, Mateen, speaking from his office in Los Angeles, said he was “shocked and puzzled” by Hairston’s comments.
Mateen said the company is currently in negotiations with four grocers to take over the space, including Ultra Foods, but first needs to convince Dominick’s to give up or pay out on its lease, which runs through May of 2015.
“No matter what other decisions we want to make, they have to approve it,” Mateen said. “They have the keys to the site.”
Representatives from Cannon said they are working with Dominick’s parent company, Safeway, to give up the space, but the company has been moving slow because it is currently being bought by Albertsons.
A representative of Safeway was not available to comment.
Mateen said the rent he’s hoping to get for the grocery store, which closed Dec. 28, is based on the payments due on a loan for the property and the added taxes that come from being within a special service area.
A special service area levies an additional tax in specified commercial districts to be used to improve infrastructure for the businesses on the strip.
Representatives from Cannon estimated the taxes added an additional $168,000 to their total tax bill last year.
A representative for Koch and Mooney declined to comment Thursday.
Mateen also denied he skipped a meeting with Hairston in California, as she said at Tuesday's meeting. He said she had never scheduled anything.
Hairston was not available for comment Thursday.
But Mateen and others at Cannon said they were most puzzled by the fact that they were not invited to the public meeting about their property.
“I had no idea there was a meeting at all, otherwise we would have been there,” said Vladimir Ganz, the real estate adviser for Cannon working on Jeffery Plaza.
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