Mariano's announces plan for new store at Sears site in Crystal Lake

H. Rick Bamman – 
The Sears store at 105 Northwest Highway in Crystal Lake is closing.
H. Rick Bamman – The Sears store at 105 Northwest Highway in Crystal Lake is closing.

CRYSTAL LAKE – Goodbye, Sears; hello, Mariano’s.

City leaders announced Tuesday afternoon that the Chicago-area specialty grocer chain will be opening a new store at the location of the Sears at 105 Northwest Highway.

Plans call for a 74,800-square-foot building at the current Sears site, which will close in March. Demolition of the old building and construction of the Mariano's will begin this year, with an expected 2018 grand opening.

Sears Holding Corp. and national retail developer Continental Properties Co., which are joint venture partners in the project, have been working with the city to locate a Mariano’s at the address.

“We are excited to welcome Mariano’s to the Crystal Lake business community. Mariano’s is a premier grocer that offers quality products, variety, exceptional service and convenience, and this is a perfect location for them,” Mayor Aaron Shepley said.

The new building, like other Mariano’s stores, will feature its signature glass rotunda that houses the customer cafe. The amenities offered differ by store, but include specialties such as an Italian coffee shop with gelato bar, wood-fired pizza, a sit-down sushi bar, a juice bar and others.

The first Mariano’s opened in 2010 in Arlington Heights. There are now 40 stores, with the nearest ones located in Lake Zurich, Palatine and Hoffman Estates.

City staff and Mariano’s have been talking for several years about a Crystal Lake location, said Shepley, who added that the location will have the bonus of helping “re-energize” the older part of the city’s Route 14 retail corridor.

Steve Wagner, senior vice president for Continental Properties Co., said the city has been “very responsive and helpful” in assisting the company and its plans.

While Mariano’s still will have to go through the city’s permit and design process, the property already has the appropriate business zoning.

Mariano’s is a subsidiary of Milwaukee-based Roundy’s, which operates a number of grocery stores in Wisconsin and the Chicago area under the Mariano’s, Pick n’ Save, Copps and Metro Market retail banners. Roundy’s was bought in 2015 by Cincinnati-based grocery giant The Kroger Co.

Sears Holdings Corp., which has been struggling for years, began looking for a retailer to share the space in 2013. Sears announced 16 store closings last month and 26 more this month.

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