The Oak Park Village Board approved a sales tax rebate program to allow the owners of the old building on the northeast corner of Lake Street and Harlem Avenue to attract a grocery store that has an associated market.
The approval paves the way for Dom’s Kitchen & Market to move to the ground floor of the former Marshall Field’s building, at 1144 Lake Street. Dom’s is a newly formed grocery story concept whose first store opened on North Halsted Street in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood in June 2021.
Now, beginning when Dom’s opens in Oak Park in late 2023, the town will refund half of the food and liquor sales tax to the building’s owner, Nick Karris, over 20 years. Dom’s has negotiated a 30-year lease on the building and it will occupy about 22,000 square feet on the first floor and basement levels, according to a town memo.
The ground floor of the old Marshall Field building has been empty since a Borders bookstore closed in that space in 2011. A memo from Oak Park Economic Development Corporation CEO John Lynch stated that the modernization and construction of the The ground floor and basement of the building will cost Dom and Karris a combined amount of about $13 million, which is likely $6 million to $7 million more than a new build from scratch and about $6.5 million to $8 million. more than other locations they are considering.
Dom’s is expected to generate about $350,000 a year in sales tax, and the town will reimburse Karris about $175,000 each year, according to town officials.
Additionally, Lynch wrote in the memo, the building’s widespread vacancy and age deserve assistance, given its highly visible location.
“For more than 11 years, the high-profile corner of Lake and Harlem has had its largest vacant retail space,” Lynch wrote. “The visual and psychological benefits of moving from a seemingly empty building to a vibrant and thoughtfully designed food and beverage market cannot be underestimated. This reactivation serves as a clear and immediate indicator of our downtown’s progress to all who enter Oak Park via Lake Street from the west. Additionally, this new concept will certainly bring more shoppers and commercial activity to the Downtown district as a whole.”
Dom’s is run by Mariano founder Bob Mariano, Don Fitzgerald, and Jay Owen, great-grandson of Dominick DiMatteo, the founder of the former Dominick’s grocery store chain. Construction takes place in a second location in the old townwhich is scheduled to open before the end of the year.
Bob Goldsborough is a freelancer.