You may have heard or read that Safeway, Inc., last week announced plans to close or sell all 72 Dominick’s stores in the Chicago region by early 2014. This announcement has major repercussions for our neighborhood, as the Dominick’s Food Store at Gateway Center on Howard and Clark Streets serves as the center’s major anchor tenant.
I spoke yesterday with a senior operating partner forMid-America Asset Management, Inc., the company that manages Gateway. We both agreed it was important not to simply sit back and wait for Safeway to sell the Gateway store, but to take a pro-active approach in identifying a new grocer for the location.
According to Crain’s Chicago Business, at least three grocery chains are emerging as the most likely buyers of a majority of the Dominick’s stores being offered for sale. In the next few weeks, I will be working with Mid-America and the Rogers Park Business Alliance to reach out to those and all the other major grocery chains in the Chicago area. I’m not leaving anything to chance and simply assuming a national chain will move into the spot. I’ve already contacted a local independent grocer who has expressed a strong interest in the location.
Keep in mind the large chains are all owned by national and even multi-national corporations and will largely make their expansion decisions based on objective data, such as demographic statistics, proximity of their other store locations, sales trends at the previous Dominick’s stores and their own capacity for expansion and long-term business plan. But strong outreach by the local alderman and chamber with assurances that the new company would be welcomed in the community can certainly be a benefit, as well.
Recent encouraging news about the shopping center will help in our efforts to attract a new grocery store. Mid-America informs me that L.A. Fitness has just signed a new lease and will be expanding its facility at Gateway into an adjacent storefront and Burger King will be receiving a building permit within the next week that will allow it to begin construction of its new drive-thru facility. The expansion of LA Fitness and the presence of Burger King will bring more bring more people into the center and help us market the location to potential grocers.
I will keep you informed as our efforts continue.