Oh Jewel, really? I have to say I’m not the biggest Jewel fan. I grew up going to the Roosevelt Road Jewel my whole life and it was fine, the Osco section is a lot more fun. Recently to try and spend less money on groceries I went to Jewel and realized the prices there really aren’t that much different than they were at Whole Foods for a lot of items.
Yes, I have turned into a Whole Foods snob, I blame my wife completely. But it does get expensive and that’s when you go to Trader Joe’s, not Jewel.
It appears as though Jewel has been paying the lease on the abandoned Dominick’s at Bunker Hill, presumably to prevent another grocery store from moving in. That’s so Jewel.
There are some things I will hear from my wife every day, like “why am I so tired?” and there are other things I will hear from her every three or four months, such as “why has no one moved into the abandoned Dominick’s?” Well, now we have our answer.
From Crain’s Chicago Business:
Vacant grocery stores inconvenience residents, slash sales tax revenue and can diminish a neighborhood’s reputation as a viable retail center. They also can devastate nearby retailers, along with the owners of shopping centers lacking an anchor tenant to draw in the masses.
The rest of the retailers in Bunker Hill are outraged, as they should be. Without the main attraction of a grocery store bringing in traffic, they are all suffering, and unfairly.
Jewel’s parent company is Albertsons and just last year they acquired Safeway, the parent company to Dominick’s giving them ownership of the lease. According to Ryan Ori, author of the Crain’s article:
Although the 19 vacant Dominick’s buildings have different owners, Albertsons has long-term control over many of the spaces through its leases. In some cases, it has exercised options to extend the leases on empty spaces, according to real estate sources.
By keeping control of those spaces, Albertsons can sublease them to nongrocery retailers that don’t compete with Jewel stores, or consider opening its own stores.
Albertsons recently extended the lease another five years, through 2021, so unfortunately there is no solution in sight. At the very least, hopefully something useful will move in. I’d really like to see Dragon One stay in business. They are very nice people and like the rest of the retailers, they deserve to have a main attraction to their shopping center, the way it was when they originally signed their leases.
If nothing else, Jewel should relocate to Bunker Hill. I really can’t stand that Jewel parking lot, it’s the only reason I’ll go out of my way to a different Panera. Luckily that Panera has plans to relocate, but that’s a story for another time.