Tag: Maywood Market

Grocery Store Proposal for Former Maywood Market Stalled

Tuesday, August 15, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

An entrepreneur’s plan to purchase and turn 615 S. 5th Ave. in Maywood, which once housed the former Maywood Market, into a full-service grocery store called Save More Fresh Market has hit a snag in the road, according to village of Maywood officials.

Ali Hamden had offered $400,000 for the 22,000-square-foot, village-owned building and the roughly 61,000-square-foot, village-owned parking lot next to it.

Continue reading “Grocery Store Proposal for Former Maywood Market Stalled”

A Grocery Store Looks to Open Inside Former Maywood Market

Maywood Market

The former Maywood Market, located at 615 S. 5th Ave., which closed in 2011. | Google Earth

Thursday, April 27, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Less than six months after Aldi — Maywood’s only full-service grocery store — closed, another grocer is looking to move into the village.

Ali Hamden, an entrepreneur who has owned and operated a range of different businesses over the last 25 years, is looking to open a grocery store, Save More Fresh Market, inside of the building that once housed the former Maywood Market, located at 615 S. 5th Ave. Maywood Market closed in 2011 after fewer than two years in operation.

Unlike Aldi, the Germany-based international discount grocery store that closed its Maywood location at 215 Madison Street in December, Hamden is an independent entity who, since 1988, has owned and operated a 7-Eleven, a string of neighborhood grocers and two gas stations.

He also buys, fixes, and either holds or re-sells single family homes, multifamily buildings and commercial properties. Hamden, who owns AH Group, is currently in negotiations to open a Save-A-Lot grocery store in the Chicago area and a 15,000-square-foot Save More Fresh Market grocery store in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.

According to a letter of intent filed in January, Hamden has offered to pay $400,000 for the 22,000 square foot building, which is located on a roughly 61,000 square foot paved lot. Maywood owns both the building and the lot.

The Pearson Realty Group, the village’s contracted broker, suggested that the building and lot be listed at $595,000 and estimated that they could probably fetch between $505,000 and $545,000 in a final sale.

At an April 26 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting, Hamden said that his offer “only reflects the fact that we have been through [the building] only once.” He said he didn’t know the condition of the roof. Hamden’s letter of intent states that his offer “reflects the fact that significant electrical repairs need to be made.”

This year, the village budgeted $30,000 to maintain the former Maywood Market. In the past, village officials have reported on numerous acts of vandalism that have taken place on the premises.

Hamden is asking for a Class 8 tax abatement, which would significantly lower the amount that he pays in property taxes on the store and surrounding lot each year. According to village data, the taxes owed on the facility and the lot totaled over $230,000 in 2013. A Class 8 incentive would have lowered that amount to around $87,000.

Hamden estimates that the village could realize $60,000 a year in property tax revenue and $40,000 a year in sales tax revenue, which would total around $1.6 million over 10 years.

According to preliminary projections provided by Hamden, Save More Fresh Market could generate between $3 million and $4.7 million in sales revenue each year. Hamden said that he’ll utilize all of the square footage that was utilized by Maywood Market, including the bakery and hot food areas.

In addition, Hamden said, his store will produce its own brand of specialized products that will sell in both the Maywood and Uptown stores.

“This will give us a good opportunity to compete with big stores around us,” Hamden said. “I’m looking for a bigger facility. We need a warehouse and want an easier way to operate trucks. We’ll have a full line of meat, produce, grocery and non-grocery items. We will not sell liquor or tobacco. We are strictly a supermarket for the community.”

Hamden’s AH Group had secured a loan of up to $700,000 from Chicago Bridge Loan, which would be used to finance the acquisition of the property.

Hamden isn’t the only prospect that has been attracted to the former Maywood Market.

In an interview earlier this year, Village Manager Willie Norfleet Jr., said that roughly three other suitors had expressed interest in the property, including EATS Groceries owner Thom Alcazar, who describes EATS as a “concierge-type shopping experience.”

In an interview in February, Alcazar said that the majority of EATS would be warehouse space, with customers making orders from kiosks or from their homes or businesses, since EATS would also entail delivering groceries to various locations. At the time, however, Alcazar had not made an offer on the Maywood property.

After Wednesday’s LLOC meeting, village board members went into executive session to discuss Hamden’s offer. The negotiations between the village and Hamden are ongoing. VFP

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Four Grocers Eyeing Maywood Market Property, One Grocer to Reveal Concept at Meeting Tonight, Feb. 2

Maywood Market

The site of the former Maywood Market grocery store, which closed in 2011. | Google Earth

Thursday, February 2, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || Updated: 2/3/17

It’s been a little more than a month since Aldi, the village’s only full-service grocery store, exited Maywood, but things are already looking up, says Village Manager Willie Norfleet, Jr. Maywood’s top administrator said that he’s confident that a grocer will secure the former Maywood Market grocery store, located at the corner of 5th Ave. and Washington Blvd., within the year. The property is currently owned by the village.

“Each day that goes by, the odds get stronger and stronger because of one factor — you don’t have to compete with Aldi,” Norfleet said in a recent phone interview. “I know [a vendor will purchase the former Maywood Market] very soon.”

Norfleet said that, last year, the village entertained at least four prospective tenants, all grocers, that are looking to setup shop at the boarded up location. He didn’t identify them or reveal their sizes (i.e., whether they’re independent stores or national chains).

Whichever can negotiate an agreement first, he said, would be poised to capture a market with little competition now that Aldi is no longer in the village. Last year, Aldi announced that it was closing its Maywood location due to increasing property taxes and declining sales revenue.

One of those prospective vendors is Thom Alcazar’s EATS Groceries, an unconventional supermarket that is designed to bring high-end services and quality food to food deserts, or areas where residents are located at relatively long distances from supermarkets and other sources of quality meats, fruits and vegetables.

Alcazar, a logistics and supply-chain expert, has eyed Maywood and Chicago’s North Lawndale area as two prospective areas he’s willing to locate his concept, which Chicago Tribune reporter Mary Schmich described last year:

“Everything about this store is different. Instead of aisles of groceries, the shoppers are greeted by touch-screen kiosks and cheerful shopping assistants who show them how to order with their fingers.

“You want bananas? Touch here. Green or ripe? Touch here.

“Many of the shoppers — single mothers, grandmothers — come with kids, and while the adults work the kiosk, the kids are escorted to the kid zone to play and eat healthy treats.

“Meanwhile, in the back, the cold, giant warehouse is bustling. Workers, many of them ex-felons who before this store arrived couldn’t find a job, line up along a conveyor belt, loading the orders into grocery totes. They’re all wearing gloves, ensuring that the fruits and vegetables, unlike most supermarket produce, haven’t been squeezed and poked countless times by whoknowswho with Godknowswhat on their hands.”

In a phone interview Wednesday, Alcazar said that an EATS architect has drawn up plans for the former Maywood Market site and the site of the shuttered Moo & Oink in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. The store closed in 2011, around the time when Maywood Market shut down.

The village had put up more than $3 million in taxpayer money towards the store’s development. Last year, the village paid off a $250,000 loan, taken out for the purposes of floating cash flow operations, on which the Maywood Market developer defaulted in 2011. When the lender, the now-defunct Seaway Bank, couldn’t find the developer, it decided to pursue the village.

Alcazar said that the Maywood Market building is in much better condition than Moo & Oink and “is a little more ready to move into.” He said the store could be open within a year after his team acquires the property.

“We’ve already determined that [Maywood Market] would be adequate for our needs, what we don’t know is the political aspect,” Alcazar said, adding that “if the trustees want us there, we’d take over the property.”

Last year, Alcazar told Austin Weekly News that he was waiting “to get $5 million in Tax Increment Financing district funding. Once he gets the TIF funds, he said, he’ll purchase the building.”

Norfleet said that EATS hasn’t made any serious offer to purchase the former Maywood Market despite village officials conducting at least two walk-thru’s with Alcazar’s team. Norfleet said that the board isn’t interested in giving the property away for free. The village manager didn’t disclose the property’s appraised value.

“If a business is not able to purchase the property, what’s the likelihood that the business will survive? We’ll just be in the same scenario we were in before,” said Norfleet. “If you need public funds to finance the grocery store, you’re going about it the wrong way.”

Nor fleet said that village officials want to find a grocer for Maywood Market that can recapture sales taxes that, currently, are leaking out of Maywood and being captured by other villages.

“A new grocery store would help diversify our revenue flow,” Norfleet said. “It would help to stanch some of that sales tax leakage.”

Norfleet said that sales tax revenue is the village’s third-highest source of income. Last year, the village realized $12 million from property taxes, $3 million from income taxes and $1.6 million from sales taxes.

He said he couldn’t say how much sales tax revenue Maywood stands to lose now that Aldi is closed, adding that, often, business try keeping those figures confidential.

“However much it is, we’ll feel the loss,” Norfleet said, before pointing out an obscure silver lining in Aldi’s exit.

“They still have to pay property taxes on that building and if the incentives run out, they’ll possibly pay more,” he said. “You can see how they might have great interest in selling that building.”

Alcazar and EATS officials are scheduled to discuss his concept with community members tonight, Feb. 2, 8 p.m., at St. Eulalia Parish, 1851 S. 9th Ave. in Maywood. For more info on EATS, click hereVFP

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After Co-Signing On Defaulted Loan, Maywood Forced To Pay $300K Settlement For Failed Grocery Store

Maywood Market photo

A photograph of the inside of Maywood Market when it was opened. | Benjamin Chernivsky/Chicago Tribune

Maywood MarketThursday, April 14, 2016 || By Michael Romain || Update: 7:26 PM

When it opened six years ago, Maywood Market was touted as the village’s “first full-service grocery store in more than 20 years” and former mayor Henderson Yarbrough noted that it was going to be the “catalyst to future economic development,” according to a statement released by the village at the time and subsequently included in a 2011 article by the Better Government Association.

Today, the site of the grocery store, which records indicate cost around $3.25 million in taxpayer money to develop, sits empty. And, far from catalyzing economic growth, the store — which closed around a year after it opened in 2010 — has turned out to be the gift that keeps on taking.

In 2010, the developer of Maywood Market needed $250,000 to “float cash flow for operations,” according to an August 2015 memo drafted by village attorney Michael Jurusik. But Seaway Bank, formerly First Suburban National Bank, wouldn’t loan the money unless the Village of Maywood essentially co-signed for the loan, which it agreed to do.

When the developer defaulted on the $250,000 loan in 2011, Seaway decided to pursue the party in the best position to pay the loan back — the village.

“That promissory note of $250,000 was not paid,” said Jurusik at an April 13 board meeting during which the repayment was discussed. “Interest has been accruing since 2010.”

The amount of the principal, the interest, late penalties and attorney’s fees totals more than $300,000, records indicate. Jurusik recommended that the board members vote to pay the settlement, since if “you litigated it you’d lose.”

Last year, Jurusik said, Seaway demanded that the village pay around $311,000 — an amount that included the roughly $250,000 outstanding principal and roughly $61,000 in accrued interest — in full and immediately.

Seaway also filed a lawsuit against the Maywood Market developers, listed as George Basdekis, Bob Haralamopoulos and Jim Stathopoulos. Jurusik said the bank hasn’t had any success in collecting money from the owners because when the grocery store failed, the owners didn’t have many assets to pursue.

At Wednesday’s board meeting, Jurusik touted his ability to negotiate the money owed by the village down to $300,000 and was also able to talk Seaway into agreeing to a 30-month payment arrangement whereby the village would pay down $10,000 a month without the accrual of new late fines, interest and additional fees.

He also noted that, in the unlikely event that the developers do repay Seaway, then the bank will provide the village “a credit equal to the amount of the funds” recovered, according to the settlement agreement.

Jurusik said the village needs to pay down the money if it’s to make the site attractive to the several prospective developers that have been recently eyeing the site. He also noted that the settlement agreement is a culmination of the village’s years-long attempt to secure the site from its previous owner in order to get it back on the tax rolls. When the grocery store went out of business, the building’s ownership, and all of the accompanying liabilities, virtually reverted back to the village.

In addition to the $300,000 settlement payment, the village would also need to pay the costs of extensive electrical repairs on the vacant building before it can turn it over to prospective developers.

Village officials said that, several years ago, the building was vandalized and more than $200,000 worth of copper wiring was stolen from inside of it. The village has also put thousands of dollars into policing services, materials and lighting to secure the boarded-up building, which has become a constant ache for some residents and board members.

“We’re talking about over $300,000,” said Trustee Isiah Brandon. “That’s more streets that could’ve been repaired, more folks who could’ve been hired. I guess the village co-signed … to support this particular business, which I believe was a huge mistake as well.”

“Where does it end? Where does it end? It ends in our pockets,” said Lucille Redmond, a resident who has been outspoken against the Maywood Market development and the village’s handling of the building since the grocery store went out of business.

“We are steady losing money on this Maywood Market that is sitting there being vandalized and just deteriorating,” she said at the April 13 meeting. “Taxpayer dollars are going to waste.”

Redmond brought up the development’s ties to former mayor Yarbrough, questioning whether or not Yarbrough’s sister-in-law, Sharlene Estelle, pocketed any money after the vandalism. When it opened, Estelle’s State Farm insurance agency was hired to provide the insurance policy for the grocery store.

According to the BGA article Redmond cited in her comments, after the store closed it would have been likely that Estelle would “lose the Maywood Market insurance policy as the coverage shifts to the village government’s existing policy,” according to village officials BGA reporters interviewed at the time.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Trustee Michael Rogers noted that the building is currently insured, but that a claim may not have been filed after the act of vandalism in a timely manner for a policy to cover the stolen wiring. The board didn’t indicate which firm the village is currently contracting with to provide insurance.

“The building is still insured. It was insured as far as I know throughout the course of time, but recently … whenever the electrical things were taken was years ago,” he said. “You have to file the claim within a reasonable amount of time usually … we really wouldn’t be able to replace that wiring off of a claim now because that was so long ago.”

The board voted 4 to 2 to consider approving the $300,000 settlement payment at the next regular board meeting on April 19. Trustee Isiah Brandon and Mayor Edwenna Perkins both voted against the motion. Trustee Yarbrough was absent.

If the board approves the payment, part of the money will come out of the Madison Street TIF fund, Jurusik said. VFP

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A Plan For The Former Maywood Market? Bring In The Chinese, Says Local Realtor

Maywood Market

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

hansonTuesday, 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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