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Article updated: 2/19/2013 4:57 AM

Uncle Joe's to move into old Rolling Meadows Dominick's site

By Deborah Donovan

Nearly nine years after the Dominick's store in downtown Rolling Meadows left town, a new grocery store will open in that space.

Mayor Tom Rooney announced Monday that Uncle Joe's Tuscan Fresh Market -- tied to the Caputo family of grocers -- will open by October.

Rooney's announcement, in front of the Rolling Meadows Chamber of Commerce luncheon, was met by huge applause.

"By the end of 2013 this saga, the most rotten downside of Rolling Meadows, should have a whole new face on the outside and the inside," the mayor proclaimed.

The interior and exterior of the store, on Kirchoff Road, will be remodeled at the same time, he said.

Uncle Joe's will use 55,000 square feet, while the Dominick's had 72,000 square feet.

The entire shopping center -- which will be renamed Meadows Marketplace -- has 133,000 square feet of gross leasable area, which will be reduced to 122,402 with the addition of a dock for the grocery store, according to a zoning petition from Clark Street Development, which took ownership of the site in July.

The center has two tenants, according to papers filed with the city.

Rolling Meadows referred calls about Uncle Joe's to Louis Ruffolo and Nat Caputo. Ruffolo said ownership of the store will not be discussed at this early point, and that Caputo is a consultant. Nat Caputo could not be reached.

Ruffolo said there is no legal affiliation between Uncle Joe's and the Caputo grocery companies, but an invitation to neighborhood residents to learn more about the store calls Uncle Joe's "an adaptation of the Caputo's family of grocery stores."

Caputo's is particularly known for their produce, but Ruffolo said Uncle Joe's will be a full-service grocery store.

Principals of Uncle Joe's and Clark Street Development have invited neighbors to a meeting about the project, at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, at the Rolling Meadows Public Library, 3110 Martin Lane.

"We are excited about it," said Ruffolo. "We will do everything in our power to make sure it happens, but there are obstacles that must be overcome."

Clark Street has filed for a reduction in the number of parking spaces required. Current code would require at least 705 parking spaces, and the developer proposes 519, the letter says.

Clark Street also wants the land returned to its previous commercial zoning. Part of it was rezoned residential in 2006 in anticipation of demolition and redevelopment that never occurred.

Officials of Clark Street could not be reached for comment Monday.

Rooney said the plans will go to the city's plan commission and city council next month. City officials said they think the developer is also close to signing one smaller lease for the center.

Rooney has complained frequently about the center's previous owners and said the Dominick's has been vacant and deteriorating for about eight years.

Clark Street plans to keep the buildings' foundations, walls and steel, while replacing "facade, roof, mechanicals, redeveloped parking lot, landscape, lighting and signage."

At a September city council meeting, Peter Eisenberg, a Clark Street principal, said the redevelopment is expected to cost about $4.5 million.

The council has agreed to give the developer approximately $700,000 in tax increment financing money, funded by property taxes above a frozen amount that goes to local governments.

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