A new, freestanding Aldi grocery store could be up and running by the end of 2022 or early 2023 in North Riverside with village trustees poised to formally approve the plan at its meeting on Feb. 7.
That action item will be on the village board agenda that night, said Village Administrator Sue Scarpiniti, following a unanimous recommendation for the project by the North Riverside Planning and Zoning Commission on Jan. 27.
“Our intention is to commence work immediately as soon as we have permits in hand,” said Matthew McDonnell, vice president of development and construction for Seritage Growth Properties, which owns the north anchor property at the mall.
That property includes not only the roughly 180,000-square-foot former Sears box at the north end of the shopping center but the parking lots immediately north and west of the store along with the former Sears Auto Center building that now houses Blink Fitness.
McDonnell told village officials that, depending on weather, it should take nine to 10 months from start to finish to improve the site and build the store. Seritage will be responsible for site improvements, which will include repaving the 72-space parking lot and reconfiguring traffic flow into and out of the site. They will then turn the site over to Aldi to construct the store.
“Our aim is to get this done as soon as possible,” McDonnell said. “We’re anxious to get this Aldi up and running.”
Seritage has partnered with Aldi to build one of the grocer’s latest prototype locations, a 20,000-square-foot store with a greater focus on and larger displays of fresh products. McDonnell said that the store would be larger than the one about two miles directly west at 1001 Cermak Road in Broadview.
The new store will be far larger than Aldi’s existing North Riverside location, a storefront in a strip mall at 2000 Harlem Ave., which McDonnell confirmed would close.
“One of the main reasons we’re building this is that the current location is just not big enough,” McDonnell told planning and zoning officials during the Jan. 27 public hearing, which was held virtually.
Scarpiniti told commissioners that Aldi and Seritage have incorporated site plan changes suggested by police, fire and community development staff. The companies are still awaiting final approval of storm water detention plans from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.
Plans indicate that storm water will be detained in a vault located beneath the Aldi parking lot. The water collected in the vault would be slowly released to avoid flooding and overwhelming the sewers. The sewers serving the mall are not tied into the residential sewer system to the west, Scarpiniti said.
The site plan also shows that Aldi will be adding about a quarter of an acre of green space that presently does not exist at the site, which is about 95 percent asphalt parking lot.
Plans shows landscaped areas about 35 to 40 feet in width wrapping around the north and east sides of the new store. There are also landscaped islands that define and partially enclose the Aldi site, which will be contained to the north half of the parking lot in front of the former Sears store.
A bioswale to assist in detaining storm water currently in the plan may or may or may not move ahead depending on MWRD’s opinion of the overall storm water management plan.