Ald. Laurino reports on projects in Sauganash, Mayfair
by BRIAN NADIG
Construction of a new grocery store in Mayfair and the possible redevelopment of the northeast corner of Cicero and Peterson avenues were among the issues which Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th) discussed in her annual “state of the ward” address on Feb. 5.
Work on converting the former Kmart Department Store at 5033 N. Elston Ave. to a Seafood City will start in mid-February, Laurino said. The Kmart, which was built about 25 years ago, closed in 2015.
The 45,000-square-foot store will specialize in Filipino food products and include restaurants and a pharmacy, Laurino said. It will be the first Seafood City in the Midwest, as the company has about 20 stores along the West Coast and in Hawaii.
Laurino also reported that Imperial Reality, 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 it took a decade to complete the acquisitions, which includes the former Sauganash Restaurant site, 4732 W. Peterson Ave.
“We’re looking for something really creative,” Laurino said of the block’s redevelopment. She said that “the bar is set high” given that Imperial in the early 2000s assembled several large parcels at the northwest corner of the Peterson-Cicero intersection, leading to the eventual construction of a Whole Foods store there.
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 so that visitors can “sample real Sauganash beer,” Laurino said.
In addition, work on the new 35-home Sauganash Glen subdivision at 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 Project is scheduled to start in March. The $65 million project is designed to help prevent that the “horrendous” floodings which have resulted in home owners having to be rescued, Laurino said.
Also in the ward, the installation of a stoplight in front of the Mariano’s grocery store, 5353 N. Elston Ave., is being planned for 2016 to help reduce traffic congestion in the area, Laurino said. The project will include upgrades to the existing traffic signal in front of the Chicago North Illinois Secretary of State Facility, 5401 N. Elston Ave.
Laurino’s address was made at a luncheon sponsored by the Albany Park Community Center, Peterson & Pulaski Business and Industrial Council, Pulaski Elston Business Association, AT and T, and the Sauganash, Edgebrook and Gladstone Park chambers of commerce. The event was held at Monastero’s Ristorante, 3935 W. Devon Ave.
Also speaking at the event was city Department of Planning and Development commissioner David Reifman.
“For Chicago to grow its global stature, we need strong neighborhoods,” said Reifman, who was appointed the department’s commissioner last year. The importance of having strong neighborhood shopping districts cannot be overstated given that the city loses hundreds of millions of dollars each year in retail sales to the suburbs, he said.
One of the department’s initiatives to revitalize neighborhoods calls for the creation of more affordable housing opportunities, Reifman said. “We need good housing for our workforce, our middle class,” he said.
Reifman reported 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 added that dozens of businesses in the Peterson-Pulaski Industrial Corridor have received TIF grants through the city’s Small Business Improvement Fund Program.
Of the city’s most anticipated projects is the Obama Presidential Library, Reifman said. While the library’s location has not been finalized, the project will bring a variety of jobs to Chicago and should foster other development, he said.