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Oak Lawn Lands Mariano's Fresh Market at 111th Street

Mariano's expected to bring jobs, tax revenue and more upscale stores to redevelopment project that was "long in coming" to Oak Lawn, mayor says.

 Build it and they will come. That’s what the Village of Oak Lawn is banking on with the signing of Mariano’s Fresh Market at 111th Street and Cicero Avenue.

Mayor Dave Heilmann officially confirmed the lease agreement with the upscale grocer at Tuesday’s village board meeting after news of the deal was leaked earlier in the day by Patch.

“One of the most important parts of getting someone like Mariano’s who has sales that are that strong is that it draws other people to the site,” Heilmann said. “If you’re getting a Mariano’s you’re doing very well.”

Mariano's Fresh Market is owned by Milwaukee-based Roundy's Supermarkets and has several locations in the Chicago-area helmed by former Dominck’s CEO Bob Mariano. A Marino’s Fresh Market is due to open on March 7 in Frankfort.

The store uses such luxury items as a wine and cheese bar, sushi and soothing piano music to lure customers into the store and then gets them to browse through the toilet paper and peanut butter, reported the Chicago Tribune.

The underperforming corner was long the center of a court battle when Sears Holdings sued the village in 2006 after the property was included in a TIF District. Sears Holdings leased the former Kmart parcel from J.C. Penney, which owned the land.

The village purchased the property from J.C. Penney in 2011, and entered into an agreement with the Itasca-based developer Hamilton Partners.

Almost one year ago, the village settled with Sears Holdings and development of the corner accelerated. The former Kmart and Harley-Davidson stores have been razed and demolition of Interstate Muffler is expected to start this spring.

Heilmann said that village board members were excited when the developer introduced the prospect of Mariano’s as an anchor tenant.

“All of the village board members got the same requests from residents about a Trader Joe’s or that type of store,” the mayor said. “All of the efforts to get Mariano’s is the combined effort of board members, staff, the developer, and of everyone trying to do the right thing for Oak Lawn, which is terrific.”

Heilmann said getting Mariano's was even better than a Trader Joe's.

Plans call for a 70,000-square-foot store facing 111th Street fronted by a water feature. The Mariano’s construction will have upscale architectural aesthetics similar to the Vernon Hills store.

The Oak Lawn Mariano’s will offer an Italian coffee shop, sushi bar, wine and cheese bar, salad bar and on-site chef to prepare food to take home. The plan also includes a parking field for 600 cars.

“Mariano’s has certain requirements and one is a large parking field, it’s that crowded,” the mayor said. “A store like that could generate $1 million a week.”

Heilmann store is expected to generate millions of dollars in tax revenue and bring 400 jobs to the community, as well as 65 construction jobs daily while the store is being built.

No other tenants had been identified prior to Tuesday’s announcement, but the types of stores that have followed in other Mariano’s-anchored retail centers have included Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc., GNC Inc., Eggsperience Pancakes & Café, Massage Envy Spa, Supercuts Inc., Red Mango Inc. and Pet Stuff.

“We had expected that once we were able to announce Mariano’s that it will send the buzz out and we’d start getting more action with respect to who [will fill the other store fronts],” the mayor said.

The retail corner will be built in three phases, with Mariano’s Fresh Market being Phase I. Phases II and III include development of the former Kmart footprint and west toward LaVergne Avenue, incorporating the natural wetland.

“We do believe and have been told that [Mariano’s] would help us draw tenants to the current site and phases II and III,” the mayor said.

Residents continually asked for the types of high-end restaurants and stores that they had to travel out of Oak Lawn for. Owning the property makes it easier for the village to control its development, the mayor said.

“We’ve been trying to go forward with this project since 2006 and it took a long time,” Heilmann said. “Everyone stood strongly and united behind this.”

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Valerie February 28, 2013 at 03:56 PM
I do agree that there are way too many vacant storefronts on 95th street. However, I do think that bringing in a store like Marianos may draw other businesses to our area and fill those spaces. Orland has a lot of really large restaurant chains and store chains. That also comes with the price of congestion. Also, the rent on those storefronts are insane!!!! So hopefully someone like Noodles and Co. Or Jamba Juice will be drawn to one of those smaller areas!!
OakLawnGuy February 28, 2013 at 04:53 PM
Let's not promote Orland as The Retail Example. There is a reason they took over a substantial retail property, declared eminent domain, and are building apartment/condo buildings (none of which have sold, by the way): their retail took a huge hit during the recent downturn and has adversely affected their tax base. (One of those businesses evicted moved to a vacant 95th St site and became Stacked.) Take a drive down LaGrange and you'll see your share of vacant sites as well: Border's, Clark Gas, a large tavern grill are three of the most obvious examples. OL has its issues with attracting businesses but the climate is much better than it was 2 years ago and it's starting to show.
Laurey Olson February 28, 2013 at 05:17 PM
Just to let you know Rick ... I teach in a poor area and what some people call riff raff are quite nice honest people.
Phree February 28, 2013 at 06:02 PM
Wildfire would be awesome, my wife and I would go every week. I agree though, NO CHILLI'S, FRIDAY'S, RUBY TUESDAY'S or any other restaurant with a constant running commercial on ESPN. I know this is far-fetched but a dinner theater like Ipic in Bolingbrook would be AWESOME.
George Farrell February 28, 2013 at 07:25 PM
Why not Home Goods or Noodles and Company, they are always busy and have great food
Rick February 28, 2013 at 08:03 PM
You teach in a poor area, but I bet you don't live in that neighborhood. Nor would you ever. Don't worry, I know how it goes.
Phree February 28, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Oak Lawn needs somewhere for the 28-34 year olds to hang out (ALL RACES). Every place either has the 35 and older crowd or the "I'm in my early 20's and I just had my first beer" crowd. There is no where for us to fit in, if you know a place please tell me, I will go everyday.
tmg March 01, 2013 at 01:37 AM
how about Bourbon Street? Except for an occasional benefit, most of the crowd there is 25-35.
Phree March 01, 2013 at 02:01 PM
Bourbon street is in Merrionette Park and isn't it a country western bar now???
tmg March 01, 2013 at 02:26 PM
I don't think so....I've been out of the bar scene for some time now, so I guess I'm not much help. Sorry. :(
Phree March 01, 2013 at 03:18 PM
I've been there before but I've heard its a country bar now... totally not my scene. I honestly can't think of anyplace for my peers. My wife and I used to go to Deja Brew but the last few times we've gone it was packed with drunken elders reliving the "Happy Days".
Shari March 02, 2013 at 02:21 PM
If you haven't been in a Mariano's you have no idea what you are talking about. We shop the downtown location frequently. It is absolutely my favorite grocery store. The prices are great. The products are great. The selection is great. It's going to be a great addition to the area. I'm going to drive about 1/2 hour to get there and be happy to make the drive. Quite complaining and give the store a chance.
Bernadette March 02, 2013 at 09:23 PM
so happy mariano's is coming to oak lawn. i shop the downtown location and bring stuff home with me from work. will be doing all my grocery shopping there.
tmg March 02, 2013 at 09:59 PM
I'm just so happy that I never have to set foot in that disgusting Fairplay on 111th!! YAY!!! :)
Xbouncr March 03, 2013 at 04:09 AM
Fairplay at 87th & cicero is nicest store in oak lawn with best prices.....shop there why wait for marianos
Moosh March 03, 2013 at 03:03 PM
I wouldn't mind a Carters within the new development.
ann paris March 05, 2013 at 07:34 PM
To the PESSIMISTS voicing their opinion about a great new grocery store, why not be happy that such an upscale store has agreed to come to Oak Lawn. I'm hoping that ULTA and MESSAGE ENVY will follow. I have to drive to Orland for everything, and I'm tired of it. Maybe this will be the start of even better things to come. I live on the West side of Cicero in Alsip, and I look forward to Mariano's. Lets celebrate, and stop complaining.
ann paris March 05, 2013 at 07:37 PM
I so agree! And the smell!! The only thing good about that store is the meat department, and sometimes that's not so good either. Why are the employees so miserable.
ann paris March 05, 2013 at 07:39 PM
Good point.
ann paris March 05, 2013 at 07:42 PM
Exactly! They're all great stores, and we should welcome any upscale business that would consider coming to Oak Lawn.
ann paris March 05, 2013 at 09:35 PM
sorry to disagree, but I'm not a fan of Whole Foods. Who's to say if their products are so pure...i'm skeptical. And OMG, the prices in that store are unheard of!
tmg March 06, 2013 at 01:50 AM
Thank you Ann Paris.....I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks Fairplay is a pit...and their prices are high, too! I've been driving all the way to Ultra Foods, which by the way, is a pretty nice store with great prices, an enormous selection and nice selection of meats, fish and bakery. Hoping Mariano's prices are decent. I'm more than willing to give them a shot. :)
Jamie Salmons March 08, 2013 at 03:34 AM
Mariano's is a great store with a great bakery and not to mention great prices, they will blow Jewel out of the water. Red mango and ulta will compliment Mariano's very well.
Jamie Salmons March 08, 2013 at 04:36 AM
They should make a learning center for the wildlife refuge or even a libary on 111th
Beverly Transplant March 25, 2013 at 02:22 PM
I'm really looking forward to Mariano's, especially to the prepared foods section and fresh seafood offerings (their website claims that their tuna is shipped to their stores within 24 hours of being caught). I only hope that the shops that follow are better than that list associated with other locations. Instead of big-branded national chains, I would like to see more locally represented stores and restaurants. The idea of a Wildfire would be good, but maybe a Oak Lawn outpost of Blue Island's Maple Tree Inn would work (especially along the proposed water feature). Retail-wise, it's too bad Crate and Barrel has abandoned the South Side, but perhaps a CB2 would work for a decent modern furniture store (after the exodus of Mr. G's years ago). I, too, like the idea of a learning center for the wildlife refuge.
Xfit May 02, 2013 at 12:58 AM
Laurey obviously doesn't know much about anything & is upset because many people proved her wrong in these comments. I can't wait for this store to open. It'll be great for the community
Laurey Olson May 02, 2013 at 02:06 AM
Comments don't prove me wrong. It's results. The store hasn't opened yet and I AM disappointed it wasn't a Whole Foods. I have a friend who lives near a Mariano's, in the city and she isn't impressed with it. It's a matter of taste. As a person with several degrees including on in Hotel/Restaurant management I will reserve judgement but I am not optimistic. But don't call me wrong! At least Xfit I have the guts to use my real name
PD July 13, 2013 at 02:48 PM
When are they suppose to build this wonderful place called Mariano's? Then we can make a judgement call after we have gone in there to shop.
Mark Plocharczyk October 31, 2013 at 01:56 PM
I just don't think the community leaders and/or developers understand their markets. Places like Whole Foods and now this Marianos are for your Napervilles and Orlands. Its a way to jack up prices for so called "better" foods. Oak Lawn people are real people. They'll see more value driving to Ultra than staying close at Marianos. FYI - did you notice that the former Dominick's CEO is behind Mariano's? Did Dominick's remodel all their stores to look more "fancy"? Didn't Dominick's just get dumped by Safeway for under-producing? I hope the business does well, but my gut tells me the selling has already begun in Oak Lawn.
Edward January 05, 2014 at 10:54 PM
Beverly is right down the street...($$)I and many others are definitely going to shop here. Keep eating the ultra foods GMO and hormone pumped garbage. Im sure Marianos did plenty of r&d .

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