The firm that manages the North Riverside Plaza shopping center at the southwest corner of Harlem Avenue and Cermak Road expects to begin the initial build-out of the former Jewel-Osco store at 7201 24th St. within the next month.
Alan Saposnik, president of Tower Real Estate Services, who manages the shopping center on behalf of its owner, Federal Construction Inc., said the landlord’s portion of the buildout would take “five to six months.”
That work will be followed by another five to six months of construction, which would be handled by the future tenant, who Saposnik would identify only as a “national grocer.”
The landlord has already completed interior demolition of the Jewel-Osco space and is waiting for the village to complete its building permit review before launching the initial build-out phase.
Construction plans on file with the North Riverside Building Department show that the store will be divided into two separate retail spaces.
The larger of the two, which the grocery store will occupy, is 39,698 square feet. While there’s a signed lease for that space, said Saposnik, the smaller 14,196-square-foot retail space is still available for lease.
Plans on file with the village show that in addition to the interior demolition, plans are to demolish and reconfigure the sidewalks and loading docks outside the building. Plans also state that the building facade’s front overhang and columns will be removed to make way for a new façade.
Documents on file with the village do not include any building elevations, nor do they indicate who the tenant’s architect is.
The parking lot immediately north of the former Jewel-Osco – almost all the way to the shopping center entrance/exit to Harlem Avenue opposite the Cermak Plaza – is also slated to be improved and repaved.
Work on the parking lot, however, won’t begin until sometime in spring or summer 2021.
While Saposnik would not confirm the new tenant, the size of the new grocery space would appear to be in line with the size of the new Amazon Fresh grocery stores, only just now debuting elsewhere in the country, including the Chicago market.
Amazon opened the first of its new “traditional” grocery stores to the public in September in Woodland Hills, California. The 35,000-square-foot store features both name brand products and Whole Foods’ 365 house brand products. Amazon purchased Whole Foods in 2017.
Its parallel Amazon Fresh concept is seen as a lower-price alternative to Whole Foods and it also boasts high-tech features like Alexa-enabled information kiosks and Amazon Dash Carts, which scan items as shoppers put them in bags and then completes the transaction as shoppers exit the store, skipping the checkout line.
Amazon Fresh stores are in the works in other Chicago suburbs, including Oak Lawn, Naperville and Schaumburg, and will occupy spaces of between 35,000 and 45,000 square feet. It’s also believed that Amazon Fresh will be part of a development under construction in Chicago at the corner of North and Harlem avenues, formerly home to Sears.
Asked about the North Riverside location as a possible Amazon Fresh site, a company spokeswoman declined to confirm or deny.
“Amazon doesn’t comment on rumors or speculation,” the spokeswoman said in an email.