Sunday, January 07, 2001

Jungle Jim's expansion to include retail

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FAIRFIELD — Jungle Jim's International Farmers Market is planning an expansion that will include medium to upscale retail and specialty shops, restaurants, and possibly an anchor store.

        “Jungle Jim's has this incredibly grand vision of creating this major shopping, dining, entertainment, convention complex in the block that essentially runs from Michael Lane down through his existing development and down to Holden Boulevard,” said Councilman Sterling Uhler.

        Jim Bonaminio, owner of the 180,000-square-foot store, known as much for its flamboyant marketing as its large and varied selection of specialty foods, said he wants to make shopping fun.

        “I want to somehow combine the energy forces here,” he said. “If I can fill this 50 acres with complementary stores, then it all flows. So when you come here you might say, "Gee whiz, I have to travel 25 miles to go to Jungle Jim's but boy, you know I really like that one shop and I really like that other shop. Hey, let's make the trip.'”

        Tracks are being readied for a 15-foot monorail system - used for years at Paramount's Kings Island — that will ferry shoppers around the 50-acre property.

        “If I can make shopping fun, that's kind of neat,” said Mr. Bonaminio, who is called “Jungle” by his friends.

        Mr. Bonaminio said a separate development on at least 60,000 square feet will occur in front of Jungle Jim's, and will cost about $6 million. It will feature a winery and reception hall.

        Jungle Jim's opened in 1975 on Ohio 4 north of Gilmore Avenue.

        On Monday, City Council will take up legislation that calls for a redevelopment agreement with Jungle Jim's Inc. and the Bonaminio Limited Family Partnership.

        As part of the agreement, city officials will use eminent domain to purchase the Emenaker property adjacent to Jungle Jim's for $405,000 and sell it to Jungle Jim's for $305,000. It is among several properties Jungle Jim's has been acquiring.


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