Mariano's developer talks to Des Plaines residents
About a year and a half ago, Bob Mariano was driving through Des Plaines -- the same town where he was the assistant manager of a Dominick's store in the 1970s.
He came upon the 10-acre site of the former Motor Coach Industries bus company and thought, this is the perfect spot for one of my grocery stores.
"Thank God he drove down that street," 4th Ward Alderman Dick Sayad said Thursday night, as he recounted the phone call he got from a Mariano's developer telling the story about the company CEO's car ride.
A number of residents who live near the proposed grocery store on the northeast corner of Golf and Mount Prospect roads said at Sayad's ward meeting Thursday that they're happy the blighted corner will become home to the popular grocer, though many expressed concerns with the amount of traffic that is sure to come with the redevelopment.
"We all agree it's a congested area," said Dean Kelley, president of Abbott Land & Investment Corp., which is developing the site for Mariano's.
That's why he says Mariano's is spending $1.3 million in road improvements, which include an additional traffic light on Golf, dedicated right-turn lanes at the intersection with Mount Prospect Road, as well as extended left-turn lanes.
Mariano's will pay for the road improvements, as well as costs to tear down the bus facility and build the store, with help from a sales-tax rebate approved by the city council in May. The city will rebate 50 percent of sales taxes generated by the store, up to $875,000, in a process that is expected to take about four years, said George Sakas, the city's director of community and economic development.
"The upfront investment by you the taxpayer is nothing," Sakas told a crowd of some 200 residents at Golf Road Baptist Church. "The good news is if for some reason you don't shop at Mariano's, you're going to get turn lanes and a new light and it won't cost you a dime."
With the city's help, Mariano's is also applying for a Cook County tax incentive that would allow the property to be assessed at lower values for 12 years.
Some residents asked about the potential spillover of light from the parking lot, and whether trucks making deliveries would be heard in the neighborhood surrounding the store.
Dan Farrell, director of real estate for Mariano's parent company, Roundy's Supermarkets, said lights would be pointed toward the store and there would be a zero light level at the property line. There's also a landscaped buffer area planned between the store and homes.
Truck delivery hours begin as early as 6 a.m., and the last delivery is about 9 or 10 p.m., though Farrell said it could sometimes be later. He said backup warning beepers have been removed from trucks so as not to disturb residents, and there's a no-idling policy within three minutes of a truck arriving to a loading dock.
The next steps are for Abbott and the Des Plaines Park District to iron out details over nine different easements that must be granted to make the project a reality. One of the biggest easements is at the southern end of neighboring Blackhawk Park, where motorists will turn into a driveway from the new traffic light on Golf.
In exchange for granting that easement, the park district is getting $670,337 from Mariano's.
Construction is expected to begin next spring, with the store's opening planned for the first half of 2017.