Several supermarket chains reportedly are interested in buying some of the 72 Dominick's markets Safeway is closing in the Chicago area, but no deals have been announced yet for the two in Evanston.
"Maybe this will be an opportunity to get a tenant in the store that will be more responsive to the community," said Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, at Monday night's City Council meeting — reflecting widespread concern about the impact of the grocer on the Evanston Plaza shopping center.
Control Dominick's holds in its lease over what other types of businesses could locate in the center has been seen as one factor in the high vacancy rate at the center.
But it's unclear whether any new chain would be any more flexible.
Residents have voiced hopes that the new grocery chain in the area — Mariano's — a division of Milwaukee-based Roundy's Supermarkets — might come to the rescue.
Top: The Dominick's in the Evanston Plaza. Above: Demolition work underway at the Klein Tools plant site in Skokie that's scheduled to be turned into a Mariano's.
But with a Mariano's already scheduled to open in 2015 on a site at Touhy Avenue and McCormick Boulevard in Skokie, just 2.5 miles southwest of Dempster Plaza, that's probably less likely than the chance Mariano's might pick up the other Evanston Dominick's on Green Bay Road at the far north end of town, some 4.5 miles distant.
Mariano's has a dozen stores in the Chicago area with another seven, including the one in Skokie, under construction.
Crain's Chicago Business reports Mariano's may be looking at as many as 20 Dominick's locations.
The Green Bay Road Dominick's in Evanston.
Cincinnati-based Kroger reportedly is considering 15 Dominicks sites for possible expansion of its Food4Less brand. But with a Food4Less in Evanston at 2400 Main St., Kroger may feel it already has its bases covered here.
Jewel, with two stores in Evanston and 28 within a 10 mile radius, is unlikely to be in the market for more Evanston stores — especially since, as the largest grocer in the market, it may also have to deal with government anti-trust concerns.
A variety of smaller chains, including northwest-Indiana-based Strack & Van Til and Chicago-based Treasure Island Foods, which has one of its seven locations in Wilmette, could also be among the shoppers looking at the Dominick's locations.