AVONDALE — Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Ald. Ray Suarez (31st) Thursday atop the development known as "The Fields" at 4000 W. Diversey Ave. to announce a new grocer headed to the mixed-use building that has sat vacant for years.
According to the mayor's office, Cermak Fresh Market will be the latest tenant at the former Marshall Field's Warehouse and help serve as an anchor for the community.
“The Marshall Field’s warehouse site was a great economic engine of Chicago’s past, but working together with the community, we are reinventing it to be an even better economic anchor of Avondale’s future,” Emanuel said Thursday.
The 70,000-square-foot grocer will bring 200 jobs when it opens later this year, joining Newlyweds Foods and Studio 41 as the first tenants of the complex, the mayor's office said.
“From the new grocery store, to the new businesses that are moving in, this transformation is bringing the jobs and economic opportunities that every neighborhood deserves. It speaks to the spirit of economic revival happening in neighborhoods all throughout the City of Chicago," Emanuel said.
Newlyweds Foods, which produces food coatings, seasonings and other ingredients for the food service industry, is expected to bring 20 more jobs to the site. An additional 20 on-site jobs will be made available by Studio 41, a manufacturer and distributor of windows and home design products, according to the mayor's office.
Recently, Deal Genius also signed a long-term lease at the site, the office said.
"While you look at our downtown that everyone recognizes the strength of the city is what's happening here in this neighborhood with this project and the other projects throughout the city of Chicago," Emanuel said while surrounded by business members from the community on the roof of the warehouse with the city's landscape in the background.
"While it's an incredible view, also what is incredible is what's happening here," he said.
In October, Suarez called the development "an exciting project on the Northwest Side" as the Plan Commission gave its OK to the project.
The complex is currently in the process of a $60 million rehab to include retail space, living and working space, industrial warehouse space, office space and parking. The rehab began back in 2014 when it was acquired by 4k Diversey Partners LLC, which reportedly bought the site for $10 million.
The six-story building at Pulaski Road and Diversey Avenue, with its distinctive red and white horizontal and vertical stripes, had been vacant for years since Macy's acquired it in its Field's takeover in 2005. It was originally an Olson Rug factory.
Thursday afternoon, Suarez thanked Emanuel and the Department of Planning and Development for making the project a reality. When the first phase of the project is completed, it will bring 1,000 jobs to the community, Suarez said.
“Economic development has always been important for the working families and individuals in our community. We are not only creating new jobs and opportunities for them, we are developing a destination place for our ward and the city," Suarez said.
Cermak describes itself on its website as "a premier Chicago supermarket chain" specializing in ethnic foods "catering to Mexican, Puerto Rican, Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian and other European and Latin American cultures.
Cermak was started in 1986 by Jimmy Bousis and Pendelo Tzotzolis. It now has a dozen stores in the Chicago area and one in Milwaukee.
"It's a really neat building, and it's actually very beautiful," project architect Howard Hirsch said in October. The building's sturdy construction and high ceilings make it attractive in a mixture of commercial and residential use, said Hirsch.
Cermak hopes to open in November just in time for the holiday season, a spokesman for the grocer said.
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