Nicole Spewak | News Editor
Replacement of the old Hubble Middle School facility with a Mariano’s Fresh Market is expected to begin next week. “We will be closing and starting our asbestos removal by the end of next week,” said Bradford Real Estate CFO Chad Jones in a recent email. Right now, Bradford is awaiting permits from the county in order to close out the deal and begin work.
The prospect of a grocery store located within walking distance of Wheaton College had students talking last year. Students cited the ability to supplement meal plans and not rely on friends for transportation as a key benefit, as reported in the Wheaton Record in November.
The first Mariano’s opened in 2010 with four new stores added in the successive years. Their website boasts the philosophy “Shop Well. Eat Well. Live Well.” Each location offers a pharmacy, sushi bar, coffee shop and pizzeria in addition to groceries. The store is projected to open in the spring or summer of 2013.
Bradford Real Estate purchased the site on the corner of Roosevelt and Naperville roads in June 2011 with plans to develop a Mariano’s Fresh Market. Bradford Real Estate is selling 13 acres of undevelopable land to the Wheaton Park District. Since the closing of Hubble Middle School in 2009, the park district utilized the site for recreational activities, logging 96,000 usage hours a year. The partnership with Bradford allows the park district to retain its three gymnasiums and athletic fields. The park district plans to begin improvements on its facilities after the indoor sports season. The site plan also includes the establishment of a gateway garden park to draw people to the local and historic buildings in downtown Wheaton.
The city council approved the plans in March after adding sidewalk repairs, aesthetics, and road developments to handle the increased traffic. “The people of Wheaton have made it clear that they want a multi-use plan for the site that would benefit the entire community,” said Ray Morrill, the Wheaton Park District president, in a press release. “This plan balances quality of life issues for our community with smart, sensible, growth,” he said.
In addition, the project relieves District 200, which is selling the property, of the $300,000 annual maintenance fee for upkeep of the empty school. The coordination of Bradford Real Estate and the park district will bring in sales and property tax revenue, while Mariano’s anticipates adding 300 full- and part-time jobs.
The established site plan places Mariano’s on the southeast corner of the property with the gateway garden to the southwest. The back of the lot contains the playing fields procured by the park district for continued community use.
Photo Credit: Allison Freet
Printed in the August 31, 2012, issue of The Wheaton Record. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.