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On Sept. 18, Valli Produce completed its purchase of the Evanston Plaza Shopping Center from Bonnie Management, according to information from City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz.  The purchase price reported by Valli is $16 million, he said.   

Bonnie Management and WHI Real Estate Partners purchased the property out of receivership from Bank of America in December of 2012 for $8 million.   

Valli will add an additional 11,000 square feet to the Dominick’s space for a total of 69,000 square feet. The newest Valli will add more than 150 jobs to the Evanston community.

“We want to make a positive impact to the food selections available in Evanston creating a family atmosphere and a sense of community that our customers can be proud of,” said Frank Greco, a member of the Valli ownership family. “In addition, we felt it was important to purchase the shopping center to improve the overall shopping experience at Dempster and Dodge. The retail offerings at this plaza have been stagnant for several years and we hope to revitalize its potential.”

Valli said its plans include “a complete remodel of the Dominick’s space and an extensive makeover to the entire exterior of the center to emulate the rich history of Evanston, striving to become an extension of the community.” The market will offer more than 250 produce selections, homemade Italian sausage, Chicago-style roast beef cooked in house, a sliced to order deli and sub-sandwich department, a sushi bar, an extensive wine selection, craft beer offerings, gelato and more.

Mr. Bobkiewicz said, “Valli … has asked me to connect them with local employment partners to begin recruiting staff.  Recruited management staff will be trained up at other Valli locations and then transferred to Dempster/Dodge when ready to open.  Other staff will be hired closer to store opening.”

Mr. Bobkiewicz thanked Second Ward Alderman Peter Braithwaite for his leadership. Ald. Braithwaite said, “On behalf of the neighbors in the Ward, I would like to welcome the owners of Valli Produce International Fresh Market to Evanston. We are looking forward to working with you, and your business partners to develop a new shopping center that will have a huge impact in the city of Evanston.”

The City recently authorized a disbursement of $2 million to Valli from the tax-increment financing (TIF) district that comprises Evanston Plaza.  The funds can be used for infrastructure and other improvements.

Additional details will be made through Valli’s website, as renovations progress, leading to an opening in the summer of 2015.