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Mariano's expected to open this spring in Crystal Lake

Former Sears site being converted to grocery store

CRYSTAL LAKE – Mariano’s is on track to open in the spring.

Workers, trucks and construction equipment moved Thursday throughout the property – formerly a Sears store – near the intersection of Route 14 and South Virginia Road.

A crew flattened out fresh, hot asphalt for what will be an improved entrance at the southwest edge of the lot along South Virginia Road. At the north end, along Route 14, an excavator operator ripped up old pavement and dumped it in the back of a semitrailer.

A few steel beams already were up, and Crystal Lake Senior Planner Elizabeth Maxwell said it will start to look more like an actual building very soon.

“They’re making great progress on-site,” she said. “The steel structure should be going up [Friday]. They’re keeping on schedule and planning for a spring opening. They’re trying to do whatever they can to button up the building before winter.”

The Sears store was demolished in April to make way for the 74,800-square-foot grocery facility, which will feature the same Mariano’s staples that customers have grown fond of, such as the café and freshly prepared meals.

The city approved a developer’s request in June for a special use permit to build a 19,000-square-foot gas station with five double-sided fueling stations along Route 14.

“I think it’s going to be a great addition to the overall retail that Crystal Lake offers residents and visitors,” Maxwell said. “It will be great to have that type of grocery store here.”

The site already was zoned business-2, which allows for department and grocery stores, and met all ordinance requirements, Maxwell said. The only thing that needed special use approval was the gas station.

City officials have said the store could bring in between $35 million and $40 million in sales annually.

The new Mariano’s site never officially was vacant, Maxwell said, because Sears was torn down specifically to make way for Mariano’s.

Sears Holdings Corp. partnered with Continental Properties Co. on the development, according to the city’s website.

Mariano’s is a subsidiary of Milwaukee-based Roundy’s Supermarkets Inc., which operates more than 150 grocery stores in Wisconsin and Illinois under the Pick ‘n Save, Copps, Metro Market and Mariano’s retail banners.

The Kroger Co., which in 2016 was ranked the third-largest retail chain in the world behind Walmart and Costco, purchased Roundy’s in 2015 and serves as Mariano’s parent organization.

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