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W. Chicago hopes new market will bring growth
By Rupa Shenoy | Daily Herald Staff

A new Springbrook Market in West Chicago will offer produce from throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.


Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

Workers rushed to fill the shelves Friday at the new Springbrook Market on West Chicago's north side. The store will open Monday.


Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

Displays are set up Friday in preparation for Monday's opening of a new Springbrook Market on West Chicago's north side.


Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

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Published: 9/15/2007 12:28 AM

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After six years of a big-box store standing empty on West Chicago's far north side, a new European-themed market is set to open there Monday.

City officials hope Springbrook Market's debut at the intersection of Route 59 and North Avenue will spark a wave of commercial development in the area.

"It's the fastest growing part of West Chicago," Mayor Mike Kwasman said. "We're very excited."

Springbook's new 44,000-square-foot home had stood empty since 2000, when Dominick's left the building after opening another outlet along nearby Sterns Road.

Although it was leasing the North Avenue site, under West Chicago's laws at the time, Dominick's was allowed to leave a restrictive covenant in place that prohibited a grocery store from opening on the property. The grocery chain didn't want competition close by, Kwasman said.

Many markets expressed interest in the site but were deterred by the covenant, Community Development Director Joanne Kalchbrenner said.

"It was very frustrating for the city and the landowners," she said. "People kept asking the city about it."

Pedro Morales, a Wayne resident who owns another Springbrook Market in Carol Stream, expressed interest in the site two years ago after his wife "hounded him" about a lack of grocery options in the area.

The city worked with Morales to get around the restrictions. It declared the area a tax increment financing district and outlawed future covenants.

Still, the agreement restricted the size of the new Springbrook to a little smaller than Morales and his partners would have wished.

"We nearly gave up," Morales said.

But on Friday he was leading the mayor and Kalchbrenner through a tour of the market as workers rushed around counters encased in sheets of plastic to fill half-empty shelves.

Morales showed off aisles featuring produce "from every ethnic group you can imagine," pointed out empty counters where fresh chicken and fish will be offered, and, at another alcove, conjured the image of ready-to-eat meals like lasagna and sushi.

City officials estimate the store will bring in $125,000 a year in sales tax receipts.