By Bob Uphues
Jewel-Osco, 7201 24th St., another of the legacy retailers that moved to North Riverside in the 1960s as that village transformed into a regional commercial hub, will vacate its longtime home by the end of August, village officials announced Monday.
Village Administrator Sue Scarpiniti revealed the news during the first of two budget workshops on June 29, but she also said that another, reportedly higher-end, grocer has been identified as its replacement, though it will take a year to complete store and infrastructure improvements before opening.
Scarpiniti said she did not know the identity of the new tenant, however it was attractive enough that the manager of the North Riverside Plaza said the shopping center declined to renew Jewel-Osco's lease, which expires at the end of July.
"There will be a very substantial flow of dollars going into the redevelopment of that property," said Scarpiniti, acknowledging that the work will leave a gap where the store won't be producing any revenue for the village.
Scarpiniti said that the new store would be confined to the footprint of the existing Jewel-Osco and will not include additional retail space to the west.
In a phone interview Tuesday morning, Alan Saposnik, the manager of the North Riverside Plaza, said the new tenant will be leasing 40,000 square feet of the roughly 55,000-square-foot retail space. The remainder of the existing commercial space will be available for lease, said Saposnik, who declined to reveal the new tenant.
The entire interior will be gutted and renovated, including new mechanical systems and the façade will be completely replaced, he said.
In addition to a comprehensive renovation of the existing grocery store's interior and exterior, the new grocery store will have both indoor and outdoor dining areas, said Scarpiniti.
As part of the new lease agreement, said Saposnik, the shopping center management itself would be repaving the portion of the parking lot outside the grocery store and would be upgrading the shopping center's pylon signs to include more room for tenant signage.
"This is very good news for North Riverside," said Scarpiniti. "I think it's going to continue to spill over to redevelopment that you're going to see coming through on the mall side and show that we're being proactive as we address some of the façades and aging infrastructure of those strip centers to make them more attractive to national retailers to still locate within North Riverside."
In March, the village board gave its blessing for the management of the North Riverside Park Mall, which is owned by The Feil Organization, to explore construction of an outbuilding that would house a full-service fitness center in the shopping center's east parking lot.
Scarpiniti also said the village is working with a developer to convert the former BMO Harris Bank property at 9101 Cermak Road into a restaurant use.