Dear Ms. True,
Recently the Chicago Reader published a story by Sarah Downey on a proposed Jewel-Osco development at Roosevelt and Ashland [August 13]. In the story, Ms. Downey suggests that Jewel-Osco asked the city to “use muscle” to obtain the property currently known as Tommy Gun’s Garage for our development. She says, “Jewel, for its part, contends that it turned to the city only because the Sanfratellos refused to sell.” This statement is not true. At no time did we ask the city or anyone else to apply pressure on the owners of Tommy Gun’s Garage to sell. In fact, both Karen Ramos of Jewel-Osco Public Relations and I told Ms. Downey that Tommy Gun’s Garage was not part of our plan, and Jewel-Osco has no intention of buying it.
In the interest of your readers, I ask that you publish this letter so that the correct information is available.
Director, Real Estate
Sarah Downey replies:
The property, as stated in the story, is at Roosevelt and State, not Roosevelt and Ashland. Joseph McKeska could not have told me whether Tommy Gun’s was part of Jewel’s plan because he wouldn’t answer my questions. I was referred by his office to Jewel’s public-relations department, where Karen Ramos confirmed that Jewel went to the Planning Department about Tommy Gun’s after the city’s new landscaping guidelines made it necessary for Jewel to acquire more space. Other parties working on behalf of Jewel confirmed this. Under eminent domain, it would have been the city’s decision to condemn the Sanfratellos’ property, then sell it to Jewel. Since negotiations never got that far, Mr. McKeska’s declaration that “Jewel-Osco has no intention of buying it” becomes a moot point.