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Osco site back to square one

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Plans for a specialty grocery store at the former Osco site at Oakton Street and Asbury Avenue have evaporated again. osco-090924IMG_7475.jpg Signs that had touted the impending arrival of the new market were removed from the Osco building's windows recently. Evanston Economic Development Planner Morris Robinson says that the latest developers of the site, Jim Stivers and Dean Theo, have failed to move forward with commitments they made to the city last winter to expand and refurbish the store. In return for those commitments, the city had agreed that if the store opened, it would rebate 75 percent of city sales tax revenue generated from the property, up to a total of $1 million. Robinson says the developers failed to secure financing for the work on the site that was estimated to cost just over $3 million and was to have been completed by now.

Plans for a specialty grocery store at the former Osco site at Oakton Street and Asbury Avenue have evaporated again. osco-090924IMG_7475.jpg Signs that had touted the impending arrival of the new market were removed from the Osco building's windows recently. Evanston Economic Development Planner Morris Robinson says that the latest developers of the site, Jim Stivers and Dean Theo, have failed to move forward with commitments they made to the city last winter to expand and refurbish the store. In return for those commitments, the city had agreed that if the store opened, it would rebate 75 percent of city sales tax revenue generated from the property, up to a total of $1 million. Robinson says the developers failed to secure financing for the work on the site that was estimated to cost just over $3 million and was to have been completed by now. "They just didn't move off the dime," Robinson said, so the city now has terminated its agreement with them. "We're back to square one," he added, "looking for another specialty grocer who'd be interested in the space. The property is owned by private parties, but is under a long-term lease to the CVS drug store chain, which acquired the free-standing Osco Stores in 2006. CVS shuttered the building because it had its own outlet just a half-mile south at Asbury and Howard Street. After neighbors said they'd like to see a specialty grocer there, city officials initially tried to lure the Trader Joe's chain to the site. After Trader Joe's rejected the location, talks with a variety of green grocers followed, culminating in an agreement last fall with a firm headed by Nick Merikas to establish an upscale grocery there. Merikas was able to sublease the property from CVS, but ran into financial difficulties and brought in Stivers and Theo to carry the project forward. The 11-year sublease reportedly required no rent payments for the first year, but that rent-free period ran out June 28. The listing agent for CVS, Kyle Mayberry of Zifkin Realty & Development, declined comment for this story. Alderman Ann Rainey, whose 8th Ward includes the Osco site, said the Stivers and Theo apparently have run into similar difficulties with a grocery store project in Libertyville. "The community and the council got so excited there, too," Rainey said, only to end up disappointed. Rainey said the city is not out any money as a result of the failure of the deal, because it would only have made the tax rebate payments to the developers if the store had opened. Tracing history of the Osco site

 

City asked to chip in more for market (1/29/09)

Panel backs tax break for market (9/25/08)

Tax rebate proposed for new market (8/7/08)

Neighbors cheer plans for new market (7/9/08)

Green grocer plan wilts (10/18/07)

Green grocer eyes Osco site (8/29/07)

Trader Joe's rejects Osco site (10/7/06)

Osco closing; neighbors hope for Trader Joe's (6/27/06)

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