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CHICAGO-An empty grocery store and nearby retail strip center will be renovated and a third building will be added in the $8.3 million Bishop Plaza project in the 1400 block of West 47th Street. The developers, Matanky Realty Group, will get $2.2 million in tax increment financing under a recommendation Tuesday by the community development commission.

In addition, the city will spend another $400,000 to improve the 4600 block of South Bishop Street, which separates the vacant 56,309-sf Jewel-Osco supermarket and a 13,390-sf building that includes five tenants, the Illinois Department of Corrections’ parole officers and the US Postal Service.

The former Jewel store, which closed in 1994, will get new tenants in a Farmer’s Best grocery, a Bally’s Fitness center and one more tenant, according to Theodora Tastsos of the department of planning and development. Leases with Bally’s and Farmer’s Best are close to signatures, says managing partner James Matanky, and will likely be wrapped up with the city council’s approval of the TIF package. “We need this assistance to do the deals,” he says, adding letters of interest for financing have been received from Bank One, American Charter Bank and Fifth Third Bank. “As soon as we have this wound up, we’ll give them this deal.”

Matanky Realty Group, which acquired the 4.1-acre property earlier this year for $1.4 million, also plans to build a 6,000-sf building for Cole Taylor Bank and four other tenants. The developers have been involved in similar neighborhood retail projects such as the Grand Boulevard, Jeffrey and Chicago and Kedzie plazas.

The TIF assistance cuts the cost of the project from $110 per sf to $80 per sf, but is back-loaded, Matanky and Tastsos note, and paid from additional property taxes generated by the project. The most recent tax bill on the parcels is $85,000 a year, according to records.

“This is going to be great for the community,” says Alicia Berg, department of planning and development commissioner.

The project is expected to add about 80 new jobs to the New City/Back of the Yards community.

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