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CHICAGO-Roundy’s Supermarkets has signed its first lease to expand into the Chicago market with a 60,000-square-foot store in the $50 million Metropolis development. The Milwaukee-based grocer is also the first lease signed at the 123,000-square-foot retail development at Pershing Road and South State Street.

The Metropolis project is being developed by the Prime Group Inc., of Chicago, and is a joint venture of Capri Select Income II Fund and Judson Investment Company of Chicago.

“Roundy’s wanted to expand into the Chicago area and this is a strategic location and great place for them to do that,” says Stephen Lane, partner-asset management and development for Capri Capital Partners LLC. “This is going to be one of many stores Roundy’s will use to make its presence known here.” The grocer is reportedly looking to open as many as a dozen stores in the Chicago area.

Lane describes the Southside Bronzeville neighborhood in which The Metropolis is being developed as a “food desert,” with more than a mile between the project and another grocery store. Lane declined to disclose asking lease rates for the development, citing pending leases with other prospective tenants. Lane says the company is also in discussions with a national bank, pharmacy and restaurants to occupy the space.

Lane says the development is being marketed toward retailers that offer the basics. “Grocery and retail are holding their own and doing as well as they can be in this economy, because they’re staples and things people need on a day to day basis,” he says. “There’s a real need for a grocery store in this location, and a grocery-anchored development will do really well in this area. It’s in the path of growth and will offer a variety of convenience uses to the residents of Bronzeville.”

The Metropolis is being developed on a 10-acre site, assembled of a number of parcels of land. Work is expected to begin on the project this fall, and the space is expected to deliver to tenants by fall 2010. CB Richard Ellis is acting as leasing agent for the development.

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