A Mariano's grocery store may get the green light to replace the Dominick's that burned down in Lakeview nearly a decade ago.
The supermarket project on Broadway between Barry and Wellington avenues was the site of where a fire gutted Dominick's in 2005. The site, which has been vacant since the fire, currently serves as a parking lot.
The proposed five-story development, which goes before the city's Plan Commission on Thursday and is backed by Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and some business and community groups, such as the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce, calls for 125,000 square feet of retail space in a dense, high-traffic neighborhood.
Under the plan, Mariano's would occupy the first and second floor, and parking with 250 spaces would be sandwiched on the third and fourth level. An XSport Fitness health club would top off the project on the fifth floor. Other retail space would be available on the ground level and fifth floor.
There also would be a small pocket park behind the development where the building would face residential homes. Also proposed is a traffic signal at the site on Broadway.
While the neighborhood waited for a full-service grocery store to open on Broadway since the fire, a Wal-Mart neighborhood market and a two-level Walgreens opened a few blocks away last year.
The proposed two-level Mariano's store will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood and the community was happy to see something get built in one of the only remaining large open lots for development in East Lakeview, said Maureen Martino, executive director of the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce.
"It's probably one of the largest developments we've seen in a long time. Whatever goes into that parcel was going to have to be big in order to make the dollars work," she said.
In a close vote, the South East Lake View Neighbors supported the project, said John Rafkin, the group's vice president.
"Those in favor of the project supported the large supermarket concept and the activity and vibrancy it would bring to the street," he said in an email. They also appreciated the idea of a park near the residential area, he said.
Opponents took issue with the traffic analysis and mitigation plan and disliked the height and bulk of the building, criticizing it as being out of scale for the location, according to Rafkin.
The height of the latest proposal was similar to the height of a building half a block away where the Apartment People and a parking structure is located. Still, the proposed development would tower over the one-story neighbors next to the site.
Martino said the site is different from where other Mariano's stores have opened. "This is really embedded into a neighborhood on a commercial strip that's so dense," she said.
If the project advances from the Plan Commission, it would head to the city council for consideration.
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