A Mariano's Fresh Market store under construction in Frankfort is shown in this file photo. The chain plans a store in Oak Lawn. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 1, 2013 11:47AM
An upscale grocery store will anchor the redevelopment of an Oak Lawn retail center that formerly housed a Kmart and a Dominick’s Finer Foods.
Mariano’s Fresh Market has reached a lease agreement with the village, Mayor Dave Heilmann confirmed at Tuesday’s village board meeting.
The 70,000 sq. ft. store will be located on the north end of the retail center at the northwest corner of 111th Street and Cicero Avenue.
“This is a terrific store for the village of Oak Lawn,” Heilmann said. “This is something that fills a need.”
Heilmann said Mariano’s will help the village secure other tenants for the site, including upscale retailers and restaurants.
“What any other prospective retailer wants to know is, ‘What’s there,’” Heilmann said. “Development is a hard process.”
Village manager Larry Deetjen said that having Mariano’s as an anchor will help to draw other tenants to the project, to be called Stony Creek Promenade.
Mariano’s has locations in Chicago and the northwest suburbs. It is expected to open a store in Frankfort on March 5. Mariano’s hopes to open in Oak Lawn sometime during the fourth quarter of 2014.
Mariano’s is owned by Milwaukee-based Roundy’s Supermarkets, which operates four other supermarket chains in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The store’s chairman, Bob Mariano, previously served as CEO of Dominick’s.
The store will feature an Italian coffee shop, sushi bar, wine and cheese bar, salad bar and prepare meals to take home. The grocer will employ about 400 people, Heilmann said.
Demolition work on the vacant Kmart and Dominick’s buildings is nearly complete.
Oak Lawn has hired Hamilton Partners to redevelop the site. The company has built several retail properties around the Chicago area, including Ravinia Plaza in Orland Park.
Deetjen has said that the proposed development won’t be a typical strip mall perched at the edge of an expanse of asphalt but will incorporate “pedestrian linkage” to the nearby Wolfe Wildlife Refuge operated by the village’s park district, as well as “public spaces” interspersed throughout the development.
The village announced a year ago the settlement of a years-long legal battle with Sears Holdings Corp., the parent of Kmart, which closed its store at 111th and Cicero last year. Filed in 2006, the lawsuit accused Oak Lawn officials of exaggerating blight conditions at the property when it formed a special taxing district that included the Kmart store.
Previously, the village bought about 23 acres of the 40-acre property from J.C. Penney, which at one time operated a Treasury store at the location.