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Grocery store will anchor Cicero/111th TIF district

Mariano's may yield $1.5M annually in sales and property tax dollars

By Laura Bollin

Fresh produce, flowers, sushi and oyster bars, salads, fresh meat and seafood are making their way to Oak Lawn.

The village on Tuesday announced that Mariano's Fresh Market will build a store in the retail development at 111th Street and Cicero Avenue. The 70,000-square-feet grocery store will anchor the development in the 111th and Cicero Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district.

Oak Lawn Mayor Dave Heilmann delivered the news via a slideshow that including a graphic reading: "Breaking news: Mariano's coming to Oak Lawn."

"I think this is the worst-kept secret in the village," Heilmann said. "This is a terrific store."

Many residents had desired a Trader Joe's to come to the development, and Mariano's is a similar store, Heilmann said. The building will be at the northeast corner of the development, and will face 111th Street.

"Having a store like this fills a need, and brings hundreds of jobs to Oak Lawn," Heilmann said.

The mayor said 65 people will be employed on the site each day during construction. The store will attract other retailers to the site, he added.

"We've slogged through difficult times, and this is extremely positive," said Oak Lawn village manager Larry Deetjen.

The site will be developed over the next few years, Deetjen said. The village owns the land and is leasing the property to real estate developer Hamilton Partners, he added.

"We own the dirt," Deetjen said. "We are giving Hamilton Partners the right to build on top of that land - retail and commercial establishments. From there, Hamilton Partners will enter into subleases with the tenants."

Heilmann said Mariano's will generate as much as $1 million per week and $50 million per year in sales. The Milwaukeebased company was founded by Robert Mariano, with the first store in Illinois built in Arlington Heights. The Oak Lawn store will be the company's 10th store in Illinois.

Oak Lawn Trustee Carol Quinlan said she has visited several Mariano's stores and met CEO Bob Mariano, and described him as a "strong businessman."

"He is a hands-on person," Quinlan said. "He personally goes into his stores. We wanted to bring in the best of the best, and we found that in Mariano's."

Hamilton Partners will develop 22.3 acres in the 40-acre TIF district. The total retail space in the development will be between 200,000 and 250,000 square feet. The village will not be making any of its own improvements in the district - all development will be through Hamilton Partners.

The village agreed to let Hamilton Partners bring in tenants at a meeting in August. At that meeting, Trustee Tom Phelan said the village could see between $1 and $1.5 million in combined annual retail and property sales tax revenues. Trustees have in executive session seen a design of what the redevelopment site might look like. Phelan said plans include a park at the corner of 111th Street and Cicero Avenue, and a pond traversed by a bridge.

Deetjen expects Mariano's to employ 400 people, and said the development as a whole will create "well over 1,200 jobs." No other tenants for the TIF district have been identified at this time.

"The property, which has been there for 37 years, has deteriorated over time," Deetjen said. "This is a very, very exciting time for the village."

The village created the TIF district in 2006 and owns Edgar Funeral Home, 10900 S. Cicero Ave.; the Kmart/Dominick's property; Mansard Court, 11004 S. Cicero Ave.; the space formerly occupied by Oak Lawn Harley Davidson, 11040 S. Cicero Ave.; and Interstate Muffler, 4800 W. 111th St. The Kmart and Harley Davidson properties have been demolished, and Edgar Funeral Home has been leased to Midwest Orthopedics.

The TIF district's boundaries are Cicero Avenue to the east, 111th Street to the south and Leamington Avenue to the west. The northern boundary is Wolfe Wildlife Refuge on the west and the Cloister Condominiums on the east.

Whatizit?


Readers, we are surprised so few of you knew last week's "Whatizit?" was the skull of a tyrannosaurus rex. We accepted the simple answer of dinosaur, too. Those who got it right were Gene Sikora and E.J. Oahueke of Worth, Dan Higgins of Chicago Ridge, Lois Faragher of Palos Hills, Jane Foley of Oak Lawn, Bella Fruendt of Hickory Hills, and Carol DenBesten.

This week's clue is: I say to-may-to, you say to-motto. Send responses to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. under the subject Whatizit, and include your first and last names and where you live.

Spreading the warmth




Lauren Mikos (left) and Kelli Ahern, members of the Shepard High School Leo Club, work on a fleece blanket that was one of several club members made for babies born prematurely at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park, above.

The service project connects to faculty co-sponsor Meghan Hurley, whose son was born 10 weeks early and spent an extended period in the natal intensive care unit at Little Company in 2011. Someone had donated a fleece blanket to her son, so Hurley thought the Leo Club might like to help her return the favor.

Leo Club member Nancy Lesnicki stands next to a stack of fleece blankets, left. Leo Club members Kevin Martin and Kiersten Mahler work on fleece blankets, below.

Focus on Seniors

Pat Rack

The Oak Lawn Senior Center, 5330 W. 95th St., will present organist Dennis Colby at 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 25. Colby will entertain with his "Pat Rack" show, and take attendees back to the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas during the days of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. Refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the program.

Box Lunch

The Oak Lawn Senior Center, 5330 W. 95th St., will hold a box lunch Thursday, Feb. 28. The sponsors of the lunch are Waterford Estates and Advancare Healthcare. Presentation begins at 10:30 a.m. followed by lunch and bingo. Tickets are $4 at the Senior Center. For more information call 499-0240.

Tax Filing Help

The Evergreen Park Office of Citizens' Services offers a volunteer tax filing program in Room 110 at the Community Center, 3450 W. 97th St. E-filing and direct deposits are available. Call 422-8776 for an appointment. Counselors are volunteers and are available Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Assistance with circuit breaker, property tax exemption forms, and notary service is also available. Bring last year's federal and state returns, bank statements, and all forms showing income including social security, pension, dividends, interest and property tax bill. Business returns and complicated returns will not be accepted.

Rules of Road

The Worth Township Seniors will hold a free Rules of the Road class from 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. April 3, June 5, Aug. 7 and Oct. 2. Appointment must be made to attend; call the Worth Township Senior Room at 371-2900, Ext. 28. Worth Township Center is at 11601 Pulaski Road in Alsip.

Meals on Wheels

The Evergreen Park Office of Citizens' Services offers a Meals on Wheels program for village residents 60 years and older who are unable to prepare their own meals. Meals are delivered Monday through Friday. For more information call 422-8776.

55 and Up

Palos Hills residents 55 years and older meet from noon to 2 p.m. the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month at the Palos Hills Community Center, 8455 W. 103rd St. Tickets for events must be purchased one week in advance. Entertainment includes musicians, singers, luncheons, movies, plays and bingo.

Pinochle

The Worth Senior Pinochle club is seeking new members. Membership is free. Visit the group at the Worth Park District Terrace Centre, 11500 Beloit Ave., every Monday and Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Games begin at noon. Call 448-1181 for information.

Our Neighbors

MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island has named Ray Welcome of Evergreen Park its 2012 Employee of the Year. Welcome was chosen from more than 1,000 employees. He and a guest will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville in March.

Employees are nominated for the award by their hospital peers based on commitment to patient care, professionalism, and contributions on the job. Welcome is a patient transporter and is referred to as "Ray the Man." He has worked for MetroSouth since 1983, and during those 29 years has not been late or missed a day of work.