Former Oswego Dominick's Could Sit Empty for Years to Come
Sep 20, 2016 09:36PM ● Published by Steven Jack
The mayors of Chicago suburbs where former Dominick's grocery locations still sit empty will meet in the coming weeks to draw attention to the fact that Jewel parent company Albertsons refuses to give up on the leases it assumed when it bought Dominick's in 2014.
Albertsons appears content to pay the leases on the remaining vacant buildings in 17 suburbs because it keeps competitors from opening in those spaces, said Dan Di Santo village administrator.
"This isn't something we take lightly, and it's something we are working diligently to address," said Oswego Village Administrator Dan Di Santo.
Albertsons' lease on the Oswego space doesn't expire for five more years with an option to extend it beyond that.
"(Oswego's) lease expires in 2021, so that's at least a small window of how long that it could go, but what's even more frightening than that is that there are options for a five-year extension on some of these leases, including in Oswego," Di Santo said.
Jewel-Osco President Mike Withers told the Chicago Tribune last week the company isn't intentionally sitting on leases to drive off competition.
"We don't want dark stores," he told the Tribune. "It's extremely important to us that we keep communities vibrant."
Di Santo and Community Development Director Rod Zenner met with the building's landlord RPAI Inc. this week to discuss any possibilities for long-term tenants. He acknowledged securing a new tenant could be an uphill climb.
"(RPAI) assured us that they are working hard to fill that vacancy, but their hands are tied. Any future tenant has to not only go through Jewel/Albertsons, but 17 other businesses in the area that have to agree on any tenant," he said.
The Oswego Dominick's store closed in 2013 along with 72 other Chicago area locations. Reports surfaced last year that a "qualified prospect" was eyeing the former Dominick's location; however, no new developments have been announced in recent months.