Tuesday will be a very good day for the city of Rolling Meadows.
After eight years of waiting and a few false starts, ownership of the long-vacant Dominick's property will officially change hands, the first step in ending the era of shuttered store fronts along the city's main road, said Mayor Tom Rooney.
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Starting Tuesday the new owners, Chicago-based Clark Street Development, can begin in earnest to find new clients and form a plan to revitalize the Rolling Meadows downtown that has sputtered since Dominick's closed in 2004.
Clark Street acquired the note for the property in late 2011, but has been battling the former property owner in receivership court since then to gain ownership.
Though Rooney, who has been pushing for development on the property since his election in April 2011, will be out of town on Tuesday, he said he'll be raising a glass from afar to the good news.
"This has been the missing piece of the puzzle," Rooney said of the ownership change. "Now the new owners can start looking for tenants, they can start bringing the building back up to speed. The fact that the owner has changed is tremendous."
Rooney said he still expects the main property to be a grocer, with other small retail locations to fill in around it.
According to a February 2011 study done by Goodman Williams Group of Chicago and Mallon and Associates of Wheaton, another grocery store would be a good anchor for the site. The study also recommended a hardware or home improvement store; a lawn and garden or furniture shop; and a fitness or health store.
"We do have interest from more than one user at this point," said Fritz Duda, real estate executive with Clark Street Development. Duda added the plan will still include retail and possibly residential use, but couldn't be more specific yet.
Although the ownership change is the first positive news for the property in years, Rooney said it will still take time to get new tenants up and running.
"'Quick' is a relative term. Everyone would like to see something open tomorrow," Rooney said.
With the building sitting empty and neglected for several years, Rooney said it will actually take a lot of time and work to get the building fixed up and prepared for tenants.
Fritz Duda, a real estate executive with Clark Street Development, said residents can expect to see substantial redevelopment of the property and the possibility that the building may need to come down and be rebuilt in the future.
While that rehab work may begin later this year, Rooney hopes to get stores moving in and possibly opening by 2013.
Duda said developers have met with city staff periodically and will come back to the city council when a more concrete plan takes shape. A date for that meeting has not been set.
"We're very excited," he said. "It's a big hole for the city of Rolling Meadows that's right in their central downtown corridor. We love these types of projects."