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Boxes of fresh basil sit in the produce department at Mariano’s grocery store in downtown Chicago on the morning of Tuesday, March 19, 2013. The basil is from FarmedHere, a vertical farm inside an old warehouse in suburban Chicago. Crops include basil, arugula and microgreens. The crops are harvested one day and delivered early the next morning to grocery stores within a 15-mile radius of the indoor farm. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)

On Monday morning, 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston finally got what she had been asking for—to take grocer Bob Mariano on a tour of prospective sites for construction of a new supermarket to replace the vacant Dominick’s that closed last year.

Originally, Hairston had four sites in mind, but expanded the list to seven to increase the odds of Mariano finding something to his liking.  According to Hairston, the most attractive sites are on Stony Island Avenue.

“We looked at property that is owned by the city and is privately owned,” Hairston said. “What was interesting is to find out that Mariano wants 60,000 sq. ft. or more for his stores.  We also talked about the importance of egress and ingress to site locations.”


Ald. Leslie Hairston

The alderman said Mariano promised to take into consideration everything that he learned on his two-hour tour and get back to the Department of Planning and Development in a few days. Hairston said the length of time it would take to build and open a new grocery store depends on which site Mariano chooses.

“If he decides on a site that is owned by the city, the project could move faster than one that is privately owned,” Hairston said. “Sears owns the site from 77th to 79th and Stony Island and the city owns both the 6800 and 6900 blocks.”

Hairston also showed Mariano a site at 60th and Stony Island Ave. and the former Dominick’s store in Jeffrey Plaza. Mariano, who once worked at that store, said that he did not like the site for a number of reasons.

Joining Hairston on the tour were Commissioner Andrew Mooney and real estate consultant Mike Mallon of Mallon and Associates Inc.


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