Written by Bob Rakow
Village is a hard-hat haven with beverage store
opening and Mariano’s grocery on horizon
Ground will be broken in Evergreen Binny’s, which took over Bleekers Bowl in Evergreen Park recently, could be open by Thanksgiving. Photo by Jeff Vorva.Park next Thursday for an upscale grocery store, while one mile away, workers will be busy converting a long-time bowling alley into a liquor store in time for the holiday season.
Mariano’s Fresh Market is not expected to open its doors until August 2014, but store and village will turn over the first shovels of soil at a groundbreaking ceremony, which is scheduled for 10 a.m.
Meanwhile, Binny’s Beverage Depot hopes to open before Thanksgiving at the site of Bleeker’s Bowl and Tavern, 3447 W. 95th St., a veritable landmark in the village since 1950s.
“I’ve never seen so many hard hats on 95th Street,” Evergreen Park Mayor Jim Sexton said.
Binny’s held a hiring fair last week at Evergreen Park Village Hall and is expected to fill 25-30 positions. The business has received more than 300 online applications and another 100 at the job fair, Sexton said.
The store has 29 locations in the Chicago area. The Evergreen Park store will be the third in the southwest suburbs and will employ approximately 300 employees.
The 70,000-square-foot Mariano’s will be built on the site of the shuttered Webb Ford, 2601 W. 95th St. The site has been vacant for five years and convincing the upscale grocer to come to town was not accomplished overnight, Sexton said.
The mayor first contacted Bob Mariano, the store’s chairman, in February 2009. Sexton had a previous relationship with Mariano from his days as CEO of Dominick’s.
“There’s just a whole lot to it,” Sexton said.
In addition to negotiations with the property owner and the grocery store, governmental agencies such as the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District were involved, he said.
Mariano’s also is opening a store in Oak Lawn, which will anchor a retail development at 111th Street and Cicero Avenue.
Dominick’s, Kmart and some small businesses were previously located on the site. That store is expected to open in 2014. Village officials are hopeful the store will draw other businesses to the retail center.
Mariano’s is owned by Milwaukee-based Roundy’s Supermarkets, which operates four other supermarket chains in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The store features an Italian coffee shop, sushi bar, wine and cheese bar, salad bar and prepared meals to take home.
As Binny’s and Mariano’s prepare to join the Evergreen Park business community, Sexton is taking the next step toward resurrecting the Plaza.
An informational meeting about development plans for the mall is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Nov. 4 at village hall, 9418 S. Kedzie Ave.
“We want to get this thing moving along,” Sexton said.
Trustees in August authorized the village attorney with Carson’s to negotiate so that demolition of the mall, 95th Street and Western Avenue, can proceed.
The retailer is only one remaining at the otherwise shuttered mall, which closed on May 31. Applebee’s, which is located on an out lot, and Planet Fitness, remain open.
Plans calls for an outdoor mall that would a feature a variety of retailers and restaurants.
“The indoor thing is over,” Sexton said.
The 61-year-old shopping mall, formerly the Evergreen Plaza, has been in foreclosure since 2011. The property is currently in receivership.
DeBartolo Development wants to demolish the mall and replace it with a “lifestyle center,” Chicago Real Estate Daily.com reported. The development firm is owned by former San Francisco 49ers’ owner Eddie DeBartolo.