The ever-growing Mariano's grocery store chain is looking to open a new location in Des Plaines, city officials confirmed Thursday.
The popular grocer is planning to build a new store on the northeast corner of Golf and Mount Prospect roads on the site of a shuttered bus garage, according to Alderman Mark Walsten, chairman of the city council's community development committee.
"We're trying to get some of the fine print ironed out," Walsten said. "I'm not going to say they're going to be breaking ground tomorrow. ... We hope in the next 30 days something will be ready (to announce)."
Walsten said he contacted a Mariano's official two years ago to encourage him to take a look at several locations in Des Plaines.
The 9-acre property at 10 E. Golf Road had been owned and leased for some time by Motor Coach Industries, a bus manufacturing company that has since relocated to 200 E. Oakton St. A 56,900-square-foot building comprising offices and a warehouse remains there.
Cook County property records show the land is now owned by Oak Brook-based CenterPoint Properties.
Dean Kelley, president of Abbott Land & Investment Corp., a Bartlett-based real estate development company hired to develop the site, said the property is under contract and officials are looking at a retail use.
A Mariano's spokesman didn't respond to a request for comment.
George Sakas, Des Plaines' director of community and economic development, said city officials are working with parties interested in the property and confirmed that "food purveyors" have taken a look at the site.
Whether Mariano's or any other retailer comes to that location, Sakas said, they'll be faced with site access issues that might require the installation of a traffic light on either Golf or Mount Prospect roads. The farther away such a light is from the intersection, he said, the better.
"It's not a slam dunk for any grocery store or any business with vehicular traffic. It's not a picture-perfect easy site. Grocery stores generate a lot of trips," Sakas said. "Everyone gets excited when they hear Mariano's, but there's a long way to go."
The proposed Mariano's would be next door to Blackhawk Park at 190 E. Golf Road. A potential deal that would bring Mariano's to the site is rumored to include conversations with Des Plaines Park District officials about a land swap to use part of the existing park to provide better access to the Mariano's parking lot.
Park board Commissioner Jim Grady said nothing is official yet.
"There's been discussion about the change of use over at Blackhawk Park, but there really hasn't been any firm concrete discussions on when or if Mariano's comes there or not," Grady said. "There's nothing concrete or signed or formal."
Park district Executive Director Don Miletic said if the park board was having any such discussions, it would be behind closed doors in executive session.
Since Mariano's opened its first location in Arlington Heights in 2010, the chain has grown to 26 city and suburban stores, including new construction and renovated former Dominick's locations.