The site of the now-defunct Maywood Market grocery store, which has attracted renewed interest from developers. Below, Judd Lofchie and Gordon Hanson, right, pitch their proposal for marketing the property at a Jan. 13 board meeting. | Google Maps; Michael Romain
Tuesday, January 19, 2016 || By Michael Romain
The vacant property at 615 S. 5th Ave., formerly home to Maywood Market — the grocery store that closed its doors in 2011 — might be on the verge of getting a second lease on life.
At a Jan. 13 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting, local realtor Gordon Hanson and his partner Judd Lofchie, both of Lofchie & Associates, LLC., made an enthusiastic development pitch for the property.
“Marketing is the key,” Lofchie said. “This property is not right on the highway, it’s not super, super visible, so exposure is key; getting the property in front of people.”
The Aurora-based firm is looking to entice real estate brokers, retailers and office users to the site through what they called an “extensive” marketing campaign that would include putting out email blasts, making phone calls, advertising the property through databases of several hundred potential developers, pitching the site at big time trade gatherings and hosting local informational meetings.
“We’ve got this great building that’s been vacant for a long time. I’ve looked at it and gotten a lot of ideas out of it,” said Lofchie, at attorney, realtor and founder of StreetWise Magazine. “We would be looking to hopefully take this on and bring in a developer or we might do it ourselves.”
Lofchie said he’s talked with Northbrook-based commercial real estate firm Cloverleaf, whose portfolio includes numerous suburban shopping plazas and a residential high rise in Chicago, among other projects throughout the Midwest.
Lofchie said he’s been in contact with a laser tag group looking for at least 15,000 square feet of space. He also mentioned the possibility of utilizing the building for co-working and business incubation space in the order of WeWork — the New York-based co-working startup that has spread throughout the country and around the world.
Lofchie also mentioned restaurants, a community center, clothing stores and furniture stores as other possibilities, before adding that his firm would “want to work with Maywood economic development and the city and if you’ve got any ideas, we would love to hear them.”
Hanson said their ideas for developing the property would be consistent with the village’s current comprehensive plan, before adding that he’s in the process of pitching the development to Chinese investors.
“I just came back from New York, where I met with the WeWork people,” said Hanson, a Maywood resident and former Maywood Liquor commissioner. “We’re going to explore that model. I also have Chinese brokers and investments I’m working with. I’ve even printed some of my ads in Chinese. I love Maywood and we’re creative about letting the world know that Maywood is a diamond that has to be polished better.”
Lofchie, who noted that his firm would work on commission, has listed on his firm’s website numerous shopping centers in Aurora.
“Hopefully, we can bring in one or two tenants and create a fair amount of jobs,” Lofchie said.
The 5th Avenue property, which has been vacant since Maywood Market closed, costs the village thousands of dollars a year to maintain and secure — as one resident, board meeting staple Lucille Redmond, has consistently pointed out.
Redmond has pushed for the village to convert the property into a police station, an idea that’s gotten tacit support from residents and even some board members, but hasn’t garnered real traction.
“This is another opportunity to market the property at no risk, so to speak, as far as village investment is concerned,” said Trustee Henderson Yarbrough, who was instrumental in landing Maywood Market when he was mayor.
“Personally, if you can really try to target a grocery store — we’re in dire need of a grocery store,” said Trustee Ron Rivers. “I’m open to other developments, but I’d really like to see [a grocery store].”
Hanson said that it might be more feasible for the property to have more than one occupant, before noting that he would pitch the approach to his Chinese contacts.
“I will broadcast that to my Chinese investors,” he said. “The Chinese market is very bad. They want to put their money here in America and I say Maywood. Why not Maywood?” VFP
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