Alderman presents annual ‘State of 39th Ward’ review


Construction of a new grocery store in Mayfair and a possible redevelopment project at Cicero and Peterson avenues were among the issues that Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th) discussed in her annual "state of the ward" address on Feb. 5.

Laurino said that work on converting the former Kmart store, 5033 N. Elston Ave., to a Seafood City will begin this month. The store, which was built as a Venture store about 25 years ago, closed in 2015.

The 45,000-square-foot store will specialize in Filipino food products, and will feature restaurants and a pharmacy, Laurino said. The Seafood City will be the first in the Midwest for the company, which has 22 stores on the West Coast and in Hawaii and Las Vegas.

Laurino also reported that Imperial Realty, which owns several area office buildings, has purchased all of the storefronts on the north side of Peterson Avenue between Cicero Avenue and Keating Avenue. She said that it took a decade to complete the acquisitions, which includes the site of the former Sauganash Restaurant, 4732 W. Peterson Ave.

"We’re looking for something really creative," Laurino said of the redevelopment. She said that "the bar is set high" because in the early 2000s Imperial assembled several large parcels at the northwest corner of Peterson and Cicero, which led to the eventual construction of a Whole Foods store.

Also in the Sauganash area, a wedding and events company is moving into a 75,000-square-foot facility in the 4200 block of West Bryn Mawr Avenue, and Alarmist Brewing, 4055 W. Peterson Ave., plans to open a tap room, Laurino said.

In addition, work on a 35-home Sauganash Glen subdivision on the former Skil Power Tools site, 4300 W. Peterson Ave., should be completed by 2017, Laurino said. "I could not point to another section of the city of Chicago where they’re building high-end single-family homes," she said.

It also was reported that construction on the Albany Park storm water diversion tunnel is scheduled to start in March. The $65 million project is designed to help prevent repeated flooding events which have occurred in the area, Laurino said.

Laurino also said that a stoplight will be installed at the Mariano’s grocery store, 5353 N. Elston Ave., in an effort to reduce traffic congestion. The project will include upgrades to the traffic signal at the Chicago North Illinois Secretary of State Facility, 5401 N. Elston Ave.

Laurino’s talk was sponsored by the Albany Park Community Center, Peterson & Pulaski Business and Industrial Council, Pulaski Elston Business Association, AT&T, and the Sauganash, Edgebrook and Gladstone Park chambers of commerce. The event was held at Monastero’s Restaurant, 3935 W. Devon Ave.

City Department of Planning and Development commissioner David Reifman also spoke at the event.

"For Chicago to grow its global stature, we need strong neighborhoods," Reifman said. He said that having strong neighborhood shopping districts is important because the city loses hundreds of millions of dollars each year in retail sales to the suburbs.

One of the department’s initiatives to revitalize neighborhoods is to create affordable housing opportunities, Reifman said. "We need good housing for our work force, our middle class," he said.

Reifman said that 70 percent of the city’s tax increment financing expenditures has gone to build or repair schools, streets, bridges and housing, including units for seniors. He said that dozens of businesses in the Peterson-Pulaski Industrial Corridor have received TIF grants through the city’s Small Business Improvement Fund Program.