SOUTH SHORE — A Chicago grocer is out, and a national grocer is considering moving into the vacant Dominick’s in South Shore, according to 5th Ward Ald. Leslie Hairston.
Hairston said Tuesday that the landlord for Jeffery Plaza, at 2101 E. 71st St., is considering a national grocery store over Chicago grocer Karriem Beyah’s plan.
“I’m not sure of the status with Karriem. Last time I talked to the landlord, he said Karriem didn’t have the money,” Hairston said.
Beyah came to the community in July with a plan for a 40,000-square-foot store that was widely praised by the neighborhood partially because it would have been the only African-American-owned grocery store in the city.
Beyah did not return multiple calls and emails for comment Tuesday.
Vladimir Ganz, the broker of the plaza with Ascend Real Estate Advisors, said the landlord was keeping all options on the table.
“By the end of the month we should have an announcement that’s good for everybody,” Ganz said.
During a conference call with community leaders Monday, Beyah said he remained interested in the store, but has been unable to reach an agreement with the landlord over lease terms, according to people on the call.
Members of South Shore Works, a coalition of South Shore community groups, called Tuesday for Hairston to use eminent domain to take control of the plaza and rent it to Beyah.
Hairston said she’s met with the national grocer and has no objections to a lease at Jeffery Plaza, but is still considering eminent domain.
“I think we should do it [use eminent domain] based on past experiences,” Hairston said.
Dominick’s closed all of its stores in late 2013, but the former South Shore store had not been able to find another grocer tenant. Beyah is the second grocer to try to move into the location. Hairston has blamed the landlord in the past and repeatedly called on the city to seize the property with eminent domain powers and lease the space to a grocer.
She said she had talked to the national grocer, who is OK with the city taking the property through eminent domain.
It’s unclear how the city could take the property after the landlord found a grocery store tenant.
Hairston said she would discuss the options at her May 23 ward meeting, as well as a plan to change the zoning on much of 71st Street in an effort to gain more control over what types of businesses open on the neighborhood’s central commercial strip.
Charter Fitness opened last weekend in a portion of the former Dominick's, leaving 40,000 square feet empty.