Grab-A-Bite sandwich shops that now populate London subway “tube” stations have chosen four Chicago Transit Authority locations for their first U.S. presence.
And Bin 36 restaurant, known for its wine pairings and flights, will be relocating into the building housing the CTA’s headquarters — just around the corner from the Clinton stop on the Pink and Green Lines.
Those were among the new leases approved by the CTA board at its regular monthly meeting Wednesday.
Grab-A-Bite currently operates 14 shops in central London and its suburbs, including in six London rail stations, according to its website. The shops feature fruit smoothies, cold and toasted sandwiches, pizza, coffee and other snacks.
The Britain-born business is expanding to Chicago because its owners have family here to help run the business, one CTA official told board members Wednesday.
The board agreed to sign leases with Grab-A-Bite at four locations:
— for 100 square feet in the Red Line Chicago and State station, for $229,000 total in rent over 10 years;
— for 275 square feet in the Blue Line Washington station, for $441,000 in rent over 10 years;
— for 165 square feet in the Blue Line Division station, for $122,000 over 10 years;
— for 100 square feet in the Blue Line Western/Milwaukee station, for $91,900 over seven years.
In addition, after 15 years in Marina City, Bin 36 is relocating to the the CTA building at 567 W. Lake and expected to open there in May. The location includes a 2,000-square-foot outdoor dining area on Jefferson.
At a minimum, the restaurant will operate from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., five days a week, CTA officials said.
Over the 10 years of the Bin 36 lease, the CTA is expected to collect $1.6 million in rent, officials said.
Also Wednesday, CTA officials revealed that they have agreed to donate five Optima buses to the River Valley Metro Mass Transit District so that agency can add bus runs to its current non-stop bus route from Manteno in Kankakee County to Chicago’s Midway Airport.
CTA spokesman Brian Steele said the buses have been out of service as long as two years and are now fully depreciated.
River Valley Metro managing director Robert Hoffman said the agency has already sent maintenance men to Chicago to inspect the vehicles and River Valley is thrilled to get them.
“There’s some good vehicles in there,” Hoffman said. “Some are not road worthy but they will be good for parts.”
Some donated buses will be used for the $2 bus trip from Manteno to Midway; others will be scavenged for parts to use on River Valley’s other Optima buses, he said.
A free park-and-ride facility in Manteno means Kankakee County residents can get to Midway for a mere $2, Hoffman said.
“You can’t beat the price,” Hoffman said. “This is the way government agencies should work together.”