Residents have gotten their first glimpse at the new grocery store that will occupy the long vacant Dominick's in downtown Rolling Meadows, and most are happy with what they see.
Representatives from Clark Street Development and Uncle Joe's Tuscan Fresh Market, which will anchor the shopping center, presented their plan to neighbors at a community meeting Thursday night.
Construction on the shopping center, to be renamed Meadows Marketplace, is expected to start mid-May so the grocery store can meet an Oct. 1 open date, said Fritz Duda, principal with Clark Street.
That construction will involve redoing the parking lot, lighting and landscaping -- all of which were abandoned for nearly nine years. Major facade improvements will put the entire center in brick.
There will also be an indoor loading dock for trucks to deliver in all weather and eliminate noise for neighbors, developers said.
"I think it's a great fit," owner Louis Ruffalo said. "We're a real neighborhood grocery store, we want to see our customers every day and be on a first-name basis with them."
Nat Caputo, who is related to the Caputo family's line of grocery stores, is also involved in the project, but was not at Thursday's meeting.
Ruffalo said the major draw at Uncle Joe's will be the produce section -- which will be delivered fresh seven days a week. But he said it will also be a full-service store.
"We're here for the long haul, we want to dig our roots deep in Rolling Meadows and be involved in this community," he said.
Neighbors responded positively, many thanking developers after the meeting for coming to the community.
Longtime resident Rich Rehner said he hoped this would be the beginning of a larger revitalization for Rolling Meadows.
"I think this could be a showcase of a downtown area," Rehner said. "Hopefully it spreads down Kirchoff Road."
Clark Street Development also is looking to develop a small parcel closer to Kirchoff Road that could be a fast-food restaurant or a bank, Duda said.
There are also several smaller storefronts in the shopping center to be filled.
"We are just starting to market the rest of the center and that's what we hope to accomplish in the next six months," Duda said.
In March, developers will appear before a variety of city commissions and the city council for approvals, before starting construction.
Last September, Peter Eisenberg, a Clark Street principal, said the redevelopment is expected to cost about $4.5 million.
The Rolling Meadows City Council has agreed to give the developer approximately $700,000 in tax increment financing money.