A new grocery store could be on its way to Buffalo Grove, under a developer’s proposal to bring Fresh Farms International Market to the Cambridge Commons shopping center at the southeast corner of Dundee and Buffalo Grove roads.
Nick Vittore, the developer and owner of the shopping center, presented plans to gut the interior of Cambridge Commons, currently anchored by , and give it a new brick façade.
He plans to move Fresh Farms into the 30,000-square-foot anchor spot. The reconfigured space would allow space for two additional tenants, Vittore said. Rogan’s Shoes would move to a reconfigured 10,000-square-foot store at the west end of the shopping center, he said.
Other current Cambridge Commons tenants include a dry cleaners, , , , Illinois Dental Center, Cash for Gold, and Zodiak Salon and Spa. Most of the businesses have month-to-month agreements, and Vittore said he would buy out the remaining leases.
Vittore said his plan is to convert the shopping center from “somewhat of an eyesore” to a development similar to the new plaza at the southwest corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Dundee Road in Wheeling, which is anchored by a rebuilt Fresh Farms.
Based on sales figures from Fresh Farms in Wheeling and sales from comparable grocery stores, Village Manager Dane Bragg said the development could generate $30 million in annual sales, versus the $3 million currently generated by the shopping center.
Vittore said the new grocery store would also create local jobs, as in Wheeling “we have about 100 people working at any given time.”
“We feel very strongly that this type of development will be a very welcome addition to the village,” Bragg said.
The proposal hinges on an economic incentive agreement with the village. The agreement, which trustees unanimously approved, includes a $1.1 million retail tax incentive from Buffalo Grove and reimbursement of up to $20,000 for permit fees.
Village President Jeff Braiman said while it’s “unfortunate” that the village would have to provide an economic incentive, without it the developer could bring its plan to another community.
“I welcome the renovations. That’s been a tired shopping center for a long, long time,” he said. "I think it will help not only that shopping center, the redevelopment, but the entire corridor, which is good."
Vittore said without the village’s contribution, he would not be able to afford to carry out his plan, which is estimated to cost $16 million to $18 million.
The Village Board referred the proposal to the Plan Commission, which will consider zoning and site plans. The plans will be voted on by the Village Board on Sept. 10.
Vittore said once the construction begins, the renovated shopping center would open in about a year and a half.
This would not be the first time a grocery store operated in that location.
Dominick’s exited the anchor spot in 2001, when the grocery store moved diagonally across the street to The Plaza shopping center. The Cambridge space remained empty until Rogan’s Shoes arrived in 2005.