North Avenue Dominick's best option for development: RF economic commission

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By Deb Kadin

While pegging the Dominick's site on North Avenue as the best option for development, River Forest's newly-formed Economic Development Commission is studying all facets of its economic landscape to gauge opportunities, its chairman said this week.

"We are on a steep learning curve; we are learning as much as we can about the development issues here," said Tom Hazinski, head of the commission launched to serve as a catalyst to local development.

Members of the seven-person commission will find out about the economic climate in River Forest and all of the options available to encourage development. They'll examine retail and restaurant potential and how well the market is currently served by various land uses.

Discussions will take place to see if there are any opportunities to collaborate on beautification and similar projects. Commissioners also will examine data from the 2010 corridor study to get an understanding of the area economy and what could work with respect to various land uses.

Commissioners also will have to learn the pitfalls of development here – from the lack of parking to the shallow lot depths – and the prospective incentives that could be offered to developers.

After the commission's second meeting "everything's on the table" in driving new ideas on development and negotiation, Village President Catherine Adduci said. That includes putting together parcels that could become sites for redevelopment.

The soon-to-be-vacant Dominick's site presents the best opportunity for redevelopment. More options will be available and there will be adequate associated parking. The store, on a 2-acre site with 380 feet of frontage on North Avenue, is among the chain's oldest and smallest locations and will close later this year. Dominick's has leased the location and does not own the property. As of yet no other supermarkets have come forward to offer to buy the site.

"We have to learn more about the current ownership and speak with them," Hazinski said. "We are extremely interested in what happens with the site and want to be proactive about what happens there."

Another possibility for redevelopment is on land at the southeast corner of Park and Lake, where River Forest owns two parcels. One, of 7,080 square-feet, next to Community Bank, is mostly used for municipal parking. The second is a 7,341-square-foot vacant lot that sits directly across from village hall. A third parcel in between the two is privately owned.

A third area that could be examined would be a two-block section of Madison Street, but there parcels would have to be combined to make for a decent-sized development.

Harlem Avenue would be a challenge because, except for the Town Center, a gas station at Chicago Avenue and a McDonald's at Oak Street; the street is residential and institutional.

Prospects are still open at Lake and Lathrop, where Keystone Ventures has another year to cobble together a plan for the property. The commitment would allow the firm to use $1.9 million from the area's dissolved TIF to buy property, undertake environmental remediation of the site and offer incentives to bring in tenants.

Hazinski said as of yet the village has not asked for the EDC's involvement on that project.

Any and all efforts recommended by the EDC would have to go the board for approval, Village Administrator Eric Palm said.

Reader Comments

9 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

Do what OP did from oak park  

Posted: December 6th, 2013 3:09 PM

Do what Oak Park did on Madison, build an SRO in a prime retail corridor

Boomer Housing Needed  

Posted: December 6th, 2013 9:14 AM

How about a nice development that meets the current and increased coming need for senior boomers. Something progressive, not an exclusive development, not a nursing home, but a cooperative of sorts. Rentals or condos though, not the exorbitant rent of a privately owned assisted living place. Of course, now such a facility would have to have a bus to take people to a grocery store..but then township services can do that.

Ty  

Posted: December 6th, 2013 1:23 AM

The River Forest Dominick's would be a great place for a Sleepy's

Blessed in RF  

Posted: December 5th, 2013 5:23 PM

WE are very lucky to have the leadership we have dealing with opportunities that will shape our economic development future. WE are truly blessed to have the current Village leadership.Thank you and Happy Holidays.

Bill D.  

Posted: December 5th, 2013 5:05 PM

"Everyone knew for years Dominick's would eventually close"? That's the sort of shallow, facile nonsense people revert to when they can't make a substantiated argument. Everyone knows the sun is going to eventually burn out and implode, too. And, of course, so what? There was no way that RF officials- going back a good ten years- could know when that store would close, and for what reasons it would. To imply dishonesty on the part of the current village leadership is cheap, dishonest politics.

Sarah@OakPark.com from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2013 4:50 PM

I've been very impressed with the inroads that River Forest has made in the last few months. And recognizing that new leadership has sparked

Wizard of Oz of RF  

Posted: December 5th, 2013 4:43 PM

@Question...if you knew Dominick's was closing for years then why did you not say something to Rigas? Or, better yet why did Rigas not have a plan for Cathy to implement? Cathy just got elected!

OP Resident #761 from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: December 5th, 2013 4:39 PM

Kind of like a Budweiser executive telling you that you should drink Budweiser beer, right? Wonder if they get paid by the answer for that kind of wisdom.

Question from River Forest  

Posted: December 5th, 2013 4:14 PM

Cathy and her supporters elected her claiming she had a plan. Seeing how everyone knew for years Dominick's would eventually close, this article makes clear she that was untrue. She had a plan to make a plan. Her supporters have egg on their face. Higher taxes in the meantime.

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