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Register for Intro to RPR Commercial 4/22!

Learn how to leverage the three core functions of RPR Commercial:

  • Searching for properties and viewing property details
  • Analyzing a market area
  • Creating maps and custom reports

Take a look at this example of a Commercial Trade Area Report

April 22nd
12:00 – 12:45 PM



Webinar: RPR Advanced, Mastering RPR Search Techniques

Do you know how to use RPR to find distressed properties that aren’t in the MLS? Bank owned properties? How to run instantaneous Market Activity searches for your top farm areas? Take the one-hour class to learn the obvious, and not-so-obvious, search tips and tricks of RPR power users.

Take a look at this example of a Commercial Trade Area Report

April 14th
9:00 – 10:00 AM



Garfield Park Community Council Event 4/22

Garfield Park Community Council
Brokers Open Neighborhood Informational

April 22, 2014
9:00AM - 10:30AM
300 N Central Park Ave

  • Hear representatives of our local schools, burgeoning Arts community, and others highlight the many amenities of East Garfield Park
  • Learn about the Micro Market Recovery Program (MMRP) & Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) City subsidies as well as BMO Harris Bank loan products for homeowners and developers
  • Leave with a greater familiarity of an Open Neighborhood 1 mile west of the United Center

For more information:
Tariq Weaver, Housing Organizer
(773) 638-1766 x21

Coffee and pastries will be provided 



What Do the Dominick's Closings Tell Us About our Changing City and Region?

The October 10, 2013 announcement that Safeway, Inc. intended “to exit the Chicago market … by early 2014” by closing all 72 of its Dominick’s stores was a shock to shopping center owners, adjacent tenants, over 4,000 Local 1546 members, and neighborhood residents  left without a  grocery store.  Possible reasons for Safeway’s decision include higher operating costs than competitors; the shrinking “middle” of the grocery market as both discount and gourmet operators expand; and the parent company’s pursuit of tax deductions after the sale of Canadian stores.  Rather than exploring the business side, however, this article reflects on what this closing tells us about our changing city and its surrounding communities.  Crain’s Chicago has been regularly publishing a map of the store sales to new owners, by chain, which forms the basis of much of this analysis – I thank Micah Maidenberg at Crain’s for his excellent coverage.

Dominick’s, with local Chicago roots, peaked in the 1990’s at over 130 stores.  At the point of its market exit in 2013, Dominick’s had already closed many city stores and was primarily a suburban chain with 15 stores in Chicago and 57, or 80%, in surrounding communities.  Dominick’s had followed its middle-class customers to the suburbs.  Most of its remaining city stores were located in the booming Central Area and higher income neighborhoods.

Despite speculation about Roundy’s, Inc. and Kroger, Inc. taking large numbers of the closed stores, no single large purchaser emerged.  Jewel-Osco, historically Dominick’s direct competitor, only took nine locations.  To date, 40 stores have sold leaving 32, or 45%, vacant.

Of the 40 stores sold, 26 are in suburban locations and 14 are in the city.  The city locations appear to be more attractive, with 14 out of 15, or 93%, sold to new owners.  One city store at 2101 E. 71st. Street in South Shore remains unsold.  Only 26 of the 57 suburban stores have sold, or 45%.  This suggests that the city is still relatively under-stored compared to Chicago suburbs, where development was easier and the chains could expand more rapidly.

Two of the largest purchasers have been two relative new-comers and up-scale grocers:  Whole Foods Market purchased seven stores (four city and three suburban) and Mariano’s Fresh Market acquired 11 (three city and eight suburban).  It is speculated that Mariano’s would have purchased more properties if Safeway had made its closing announcement earlier, before it had undertaken new development at multiple city sites - some near existing Dominick’s.   With nine stores going to Jewel-Osco, the remaining 13 properties were sold to smaller or ethnic grocers – five in the city and eight in scattered suburban locations.  The pattern may be reflective of the much commented upon income polarization in the larger society and Chicago’s “two-cities” phenomenon –with higher-income neighborhoods supporting a new generation of upscale grocers and the less-affluent neighborhoods attracting lower-cost and ethnically focused operators.

Safeway’s slow disposition of stores (45% unsold) is also reflect the increasing market share of grocery sales (estimated to be 20% nationally) claimed by warehouse clubs and supercenters and a shift away from traditional supermarkets.  Costco and Walmart, the largest retailers in this category, have a strong suburban presence and more recently have been opening multiple city locations.  

The slow store disposition may have been exacerbated by stagnant growth in household income, particularly during the recent economic recession, and population declines since the 2000 census:  Chicago population has declined from 2,895,598 in 2000 to 2,714,856 in 2012 – for a loss of 180,742 persons; and Cook County population has declined from 5,376,741 in 2000 to 5,231,351 – for a loss of 145,390 persons.    At the same time with population and income rising in the central area of Chicago, it is no wonder that 8 of the 14 city sales have been in the more affluent central area communities – and this figure would likely have been higher if those same upscale chains hadn’t at the same time been building new stores. 

The Dominick’s story may be a true reflection of our changing city and region – and our changing culture –even more than changing retail dynasties.

Jon B. DeVries, CRE, AICP
Director, Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate, Roosevelt University
CommercialForum Committee member




Meet the new CommercialForum staffer

In February, I joined CommercialForum as the new commercial services and economic development manager. Since then, I have been familiarizing myself with the resources we offer to commercial practitioners and the great work that has been done by my predecessors to inform, educate, connect, and represent you, the Chicagoland commercial professional.

A little bit about me:

I kicked off my association work in Member Services for the Houston Association of Realtors’ Commercial Gateway, helping to launch the #1 source for commercial property information in Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast region. For the National Association of Realtors'’ Commercial Alliance, I monitored commercial broker lien law and license portability legislation and organized commercial overlay boards and structures, including commercial information exchanges (CIEs), to better serve commercial members across the country. In between, I worked for the original CommercialForum back in 2003, which some of you may remember as a listings-based exchange.

This is not the same CommercialForum.

When I learned about the expanded objectives of CommercialForum, I couldn't wait to be a part of the team again. The commercial industry in general tends to divide along lines of specialization be it brokerage, property management, owners, developers, lawyers, appraisers, etc., but the need for access to resources and advocacy is shared. Our goal with this blog is to ensure that CommercialForum members have that access to the latest industry news, tools, research, legislative efforts, and networking opportunities to improve your business and strengthen our industry. CommercialForum provides members with access to an organized political voice to influence legislation to positively impact local communities. Membership is participation in the process to promote the interests and extend the legislative reach of commercial members at the local, state, and national levels of government.

Feel free to stop by, or call me at (312) 214-5534, or drop me an email and introduce yourself. I look forward to meeting you. 

Be sure to save the date April 30th at 11:30AM for Successful Women in Commercial Real Estate.

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