Less than 12 months after getting approval from the North Riverside Village Board, officials from Aldi will gather at the North Riverside Park Mall on Jan. 26 to officially cut the ribbon on the grocery chain’s newest location.
Village Administrator Sue Scarpiniti confirmed the company’s plans to open later this month after ComEd expedited connecting the store to a transformer adequate to support its power needs.
“They’ve been working around the clock to get the store ready,” said Scarpiniti on Jan. 6. “I can’t believe the progress they’ve been able to make since last week.”
Aldi had previously indicated the store would not be open until mid- to late-February at the earliest due to the power supply issue. However, according to Scarpiniti, the village got a little help in the form of Village Trustee Fernando Flores, who retired recently from a 39-year career at ComEd.
Flores told the Landmark that ComEd has been experiencing a shortage of transformers and related equipment. After getting a call from the village’s community development department to see if he could pull some strings with his former colleagues, he reached out.
“I still know some people at ComEd, and it turned out they were able to power up the store in less than a week,” Flores said.
The large green box on the south side of the store is the piece of equipment Aldi needed to connect to an underground transformer there to a main transformer elsewhere, Flores said.
“It was part of the job I did before retiring,” said Flores, who retired as an electrical engineer. “Luckily, the grand opening is coming up soon. I like to help whenever I can.”
Scarpiniti said she expected Aldi to pick up an occupancy permit for the new store, whose official address is 7517 Cermak Road, sometime this week. While the store’s grand opening is Jan. 26, said Scarpiniti, it’s possible Aldi could open the store earlier than that if they have their occupancy permit.
“It’s really close,” Scarpiniti said.
There’s also no word yet on exactly when the Aldi store at 2000 Harlem Ave., which has operated in that location for many years, will close. That retail space, along with the Auto Zone store next door and the parking lot immediately to the east – an area measuring 2.06 acres — is being listed for sale by CBRE for $3.3 million.
The new store is the latest Aldi concept, measuring nearly 20,000 square feet with a parking lot for about 70 cars. The store is larger than previous Aldi concepts, featuring wider aisles and a larger produce section.
It’s the latest major tenant for Seritage Growth properties, the real estate investment trust that owns the mall’s north anchor location, which includes the two-story 180,000-square-foot former Sears retail space, the freestanding former Sears Auto Center building, which houses Blink Fitness, and the parking lots to the north and west.
Last year, the clothing retailer Forman Mills opened in the second-floor anchor space. The entertainment venue Round One occupies about 45,000 square feet of the ground floor space, with Amita Health taking up another 10,000 square feet. Seritage continues to market the remaining 25,000 square feet of ground floor retail space.