Mario’s site has a buyer at 52nd & Chicago

Investors have a purchase agreement to buy the building, vacant since 2005.

An investment group is prepared to purchase the former Mario’s site at 5201 Chicago Ave. S.

Hoyt Properties Vice President Jeff Mitchell, who is representing the investors, said they are seeking a restaurant tenant and may close on the property in February.

“They’re excited to revamp the building and put the necessary work into it,” he said.

The potential property owners have started discussions with First Evangelical Free Church about an agreement to use the church’s adjacent parking space.

“We are excited that the building and property will be filled and used,” Pastor Joel Sutton said in an email, noting that the church has partnered in past years to host a farmers market on the nearby parking lot.

Mario’s closed after a fire in 2005. The property owner died without a will, and the property underwent a probate process to determine ownership.

The building accrued thousands in unpaid fines and property taxes, and attorneys who represent the estate determined the property should be sold in order to pay off debts, according to Council Member John Quincy’s office.

Mitchell did not disclose the identity of the buyers.

“They are very excited to breathe some new life into it,” he said. “…This has been a gem in a lot of restaurant operators’ eyes over the years.”