CHICAGO-An area between two former Chicago Housing Authority developments on the Near West Side will be getting its first full-service grocery store in decades. A land-write and tax increment financing package, totaling 34% of the project’s $12.7-million cost, has been endorsed by the community development commission for a 70,000-sf retail center.

The city had sought $2.2 million for a three-acre lot on the southeast corner of Madison Street and Western Avenue. Rather than the appraised value, the city will sell the property to West Haven Phoenix, LLC for $733,316, plus provide $2.93 million in tax increment financing in the form of a developer’s note.

“The reason that there is such a high level of city subsidy for this project is the land costs are getting higher all the time in the area,” explains Dina Wayne of the department of planning and development. The site also was not large enough to attract larger grocery chains, she adds, and the food store that will open there has higher costs than its larger competitors.

An Ultra food store will anchor the center in a 56,000-sf location, which seven in-line spaces in another 14,000 sf. A Dominick’s store is a mile-and-a-half away while Jewel has an outlet two miles away. Both of the larger competitors’ nearest stores are across the Eisenhower Expressway, notes Kimberly Cooke of the department of planning and development.

The site is located between the former Henry Horner and Rockwell Gardens public housing projects, being redeveloped as part of the CHA’s $1-billion “Plan for Transformation.” “This site will provide the community with a new grocery store,” Wayne says. “This is beginning to be a booming residential area, and it is short on retail.”

West Haven Phoenix, LLC is a partnership involving the Near West Side Community Development Corp., which built a 20,000-sf Walgreens drug store on the northeast corner of Madison Street and Western Avenue, as well as a 5,000-sf dental office. Trkla, Pettigrew, Allen and Payne, also involved in West Haven Phoenix, LLC, built the Lake Park Shopping Center at 47th Street and Lake Park Boulevard in the Hyde Park neighborhood, which promises to be similar to the Near West Side center.

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