Crystal Lake Mariano's sells for $36 million; mayor says it shows city is 'open for business'

What $36M sale price for Crystal Lake Mariano's says about grocery, retail market

  • The Mariano's grocery store in Crystal Lake has been sold for $36 million, a 41% increase over its initial value.

    The Mariano's grocery store in Crystal Lake has been sold for $36 million, a 41% increase over its initial value. Janelle Walker/Shaw Local News Network

  • Crystal Lake Mayor Haig Haleblian said the sale of a Mariano's speaks to the value of large retailers and the booming Route 14 corridor within the city.

    Crystal Lake Mayor Haig Haleblian said the sale of a Mariano's speaks to the value of large retailers and the booming Route 14 corridor within the city. Janelle Walker/Shaw Local News Network

 
 
Updated 10/28/2022 9:46 AM
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Island Foods in Island Lake had closed. While the store had announced its pending closure in July, that closure has been put on hold, produce manager Mark Turner said.

The Mariano's grocery store in Crystal Lake sold for $36 million earlier this month, a move Mayor Haig Haleblian said speaks to the value of large retailers and the booming Route 14 corridor within the city.

Jason Maier, a senior director at Manhattan-based Stan Johnson Company, which brokered the deal, confirmed the sale of the franchise took place earlier this month. The grocery store, which opened in 2018, was sold by New York investor Michael Tsoumpas; Maier said the buyer has not been made public but was told they were "planning on holding onto it for a very long time."

 

"It's a great deal for Crystal Lake," Haleblian said. "It speaks to the strength of the retail market here. There are interesting goings-on right now in the grocery business."

The sale comes as Mariano's parent company, Kroger, is looking to merge with Albertsons in a potential $20 billion deal, The Associated Press reported.

Although the value of the Crystal Lake Mariano's rose 41% since it opened in 2018, according to Crain's Chicago Business, at least one independent grocery stores in the northwest suburbs announced its pending closure.

Nevertheless, Haleblian lauded news of the sale and said it could indicate positive secondary effects on the city's business climate.

Maier, who confirmed that the sale was strictly for real estate and the Mariano's wouldn't change, said that the value of supermarkets has increased as a result of the pandemic and the "essential business" label.

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"Everybody needs food, needs grocery stores," Maier said. "A lot of people have had to reassess what properties are more valuable, more stable. Groceries always have huge demand, but the pandemic shined a greater demand and desirability on these assets."

Maier called Mariano's a "unique and high-end" grocery brand, and that this particular location in Crystal Lake should be "impervious" to market changes, suggesting that only a Whole Foods or similar store coming to town would have a chance of creating competition.

Haleblian said that while he was surprised by the dollar figure, it signaled that real estate investors think highly of that property, in both location and retail sector, and that Crystal Lake's Route 14 corridor was "open for business," Haleblian said, adding that such a big sale doesn't happen very often.

Several redevelopment projects are located along the section of Route 14 within Crystal Lake, including a new tenant for the old TitleMax Title Loans building and the Water's Edge mixed-use proposal that would replace the nearly empty Crystal Court shopping center. The addition of Rookie's bar and restaurant in downtown Crystal Lake means that area of the city also is filled up, Haleblian said.

"If a property is up for sale here, it gets snapped up quickly," Haleblian said.

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