University signs lease with Treasure Island to fill former Co-op space
The University has signed a lease with the locally owned grocer Treasure Island to open a grocery store in the Hyde Park Shopping Center at 55th Street and Lake Park Avenue. Hank Webber, Vice President for Community and Government Affairs, announced the opening of the new store in a message to the campus community today. Treasure Island is working intensively to obtain a number of city business licenses that are required and has set a goal of opening the new store before the end of February.
Treasure Island plans to make major renovations to both the interior and exterior of the store, while maintaining operations throughout the remodeling. “It will be several months before the renovations are completed, but we believe they will be worth the wait,” said Webber.
Treasure Island will occupy the space formerly leased by the Hyde Park Co-op from the University, which owns the Hyde Park Shopping Center. Given the Co-op’s serious financial difficulties, the University proposed a debt workout agreement on which shareholders voted in December 2007 and elected to accept. The debt workout agreement allows for the closure of the Co-op and a smooth transition toward the opening of the new grocery store in the same location. The Co-op’s licensing agreement for the 55th Street store will expire at the end of January, and the Co-op anticipates closing its operations by Sunday, Jan. 20, as its current inventory is sold.
All of the current Hyde Park Co-op employees who are interested in working at the new Treasure Island store are being invited, beginning as early as this week, to interview for employment. Additionally, the University has worked with Toni Preckwinkle, 4th Ward Ald., as well as other city and state officials to provide resources, support, information and training to the Co-op employees.
Beginning immediately, Treasure Island is offering on-line shopping and delivery service to the Hyde Park community. For information, visit http://www.tifoods.com and click on the “personal shopper” link. Treasure Island also has agreed to immediately take over the Co-op’s shopping and delivery program to the area shut-ins, ensuring continuous service to those who cannot do their own shopping.
“In addition to the news about Treasure Island, we are looking forward to the opening by the end of January of the new Hyde Park Produce in Kimbark Plaza at 1226 E. 53rd St.” said Webber. “The new store will be more than three times larger than the current store at 1312 E. 53rd St., providing a significantly larger selection of produce, meats, cheeses and other foods,” he said.
A detailed map that includes other Hyde Park grocery shopping options for residents during this time of transition has been posted at http://oca.uchicago.edu/pdf/coopmap.pdf. Those stores and services include: Harper Foods, 1455 E. 57th St., (773) 363-6251; University Market, 1323 E. 57th St., (773) 363-0070; Village Foods, 1521 E. Hyde Park Blvd. (Village Center), (773) 288-8180; and Market in the Park (Regents Park), 5050 S. Lake Shore Dr., (773) 734-3687.
More information about shopping options is available through the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce at firstname.lastname@example.org or (773) 288-0124.