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Incentive deal in talks for new grocery store on Joliet’s east side

Megann Horstead –news@thetimesweekly.com | 2/13/2019, 8:08 p.m.
The city of Joliet is getting closer to filling a need for a grocery store on its east side to ...

The city of Joliet is getting closer to filling a need for a grocery store on its east side to help address an area that officials said is classified as a food desert.

In a unanimous decision, the Joliet Economic Development Committee advanced a positive recommendation to provide economic development incentives to El Guero supermarket.

The former Certified Foods site, located at 118 E. Jackson St., has been out of business since April 2017.

Since then, many residents have expressed concerns to the city detailing a lack of grocery store options.

Derek Conley, economic development specialist, said it is likely a package is needed to advance the project, in part, because of the site requiring improvements.

El Guero supermarket is requesting a five-year 50 percent property tax abatement, on top of a three-year 75 percent sales tax rebate, followed by a 12-year 50 percent sales tax rebate.

The new economic development incentive deal is meant to prevent the city of Joliet from losing sales tax to residents who choose to shop in New Lenox or Lockport.

Deputy City Manager Steve Jones said it is important for the city to consider extending economic development incentive agreements to El Guero supermarket.

“This area is defined as a food desert,” he said.

The city had previously been in talks with Save-A-Lot to bring a grocery story on line to the east side, but those plans never materialized. Jones said those negotiations didn’t involve the level of detail had with El Guero supermarket.

Councilman Terry Morris said he thinks this is a good move for the city.

“I believe that this would definitely help with some of the residents and what they’re asking for,” he said.

El Guerro supermarket operates locations in Chicago, Crest Hill and Aurora.

Construction of the new grocery store is anticipated to begin in the summer of 2019.