Tuesday, October 25, 2016

DNA Info: Pride Cleaners, Chatham 'Architectural Icon,' For Sale

Photo by Lee Bey
This is actually old news, but worth noting. This modernist design gem could be yours for $650K. If you had that much cash what would you like to do with it?

This building @ 558 E. 79th St had been built in 1959 and DNA Info provides some more history:
Pride Cleaners opened in a thriving community with many other black-owned businesses, but it's no longer black-owned. It's now on its fourth owner, who could not be reached for comment.

Sixth Ward Ald. Roderick Sawyer said he appreciated the legacy of the cleaners and admired the building's design.

“It was an architectural gem at the time,” he said. “It always had a distinctive look.”

Bey said that the dry cleaners had a Space Age look, which stood out on a strip that was still reminiscent of the 1920s. It was the “angled concrete hyperbolic paraboloid roof and free-standing marquee-like electric sign” that made Pride distinct from other businesses in the area.

Neighborhood resident Worlee Glover said when Pride Cleaners left black hands, it was just a part of the Chatham business corridor's transformation.

The area was once a “thriving community with businesses that people wanted to use,” Glover said. “Now it’s a bunch of businesses the community doesn't want.”
Lee Bey's forte has often been architecture. He added this considering the Chatham neighborhood:
Fortunately, the building is being marketed as an active, stable business and not a teardown, according to the listing brochure from Matanky Realty, meaning Pride Cleaners could continue to be preserved under new ownership.

But it's a thing that shouldn't be left to chance. Now is a good time for the city to step in and seek protected landmark status for Pride, its sign, and critical portions of the interior. The protections would make sure the building is safe from demolition and would help insure alterations would be in line with Siegwart's vision. It would also draw attention to Chatham's overall wealth of modernist residential and commercial architecture.
Our own Worlee Glover would like to see this as a clothing store or another dry cleaner. Perhaps this can be a welcome center to promote Chatham's architecture and history. Just one idea and consider that the Pride Cleaner's sign is used as inspiration for Chatham's branding
The Chicago Neighborhoods
Chicago Bauhaus

Monday, October 24, 2016


The 9th Ward Community Meeting is to be held tomorrow night at 7:30 PM at 550 E. 103rd Street at the Pullman Presbyterian Church. If you want more information you can call the 9th Ward Alderman's office at 773.785.1100.

In addition if you live in Roseland Heights their neighborhood meeting is also being held tomorrow night at 5:30 PM at the Temple of Glory located at 311 E. 95th Street.

Finally early voting for the 2016 elections has started. If you reside in the 6th Ward early voting is at Whitney Young Library 7901 S. King Drive. If you reside in the 9th Ward early voting is at Palmer Park Fieldhouse 201 E. 111th Street. Early voting lasts through November 7th, 2016 the day before Election Day.

If you want to know about other early voting places around the city visit chicagoelections.com

A flyer for Ald. Beale's 9th Ward community meeting is below.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

No strike

 This is really old news and most of our young people are in school this morning after the Columbus Day holiday weekend. The deal was struck yesterday between CPS and CTU to avert a teacher's strike. I'm glad that the children are back in school and we won't have a repeat of 2012.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Donzell Starks RIP

On Monday, we've learned that Donzell Starks - one of the owners of who owned ICE Theaters with his wife Alisa Starks - has passed away. According to a fb status shared on Concerned Citizens of Chatham he died due to pancreatic cancer.

Also in that same status Alisa was referred to as his ex-wife, unsure if that could be verified independently of social media.

One of the main stories we covered during the past four years revolves around the ownership of the Chatham 14 changing hands. With a business dispute causing ICE Theaters to be evicted from the Chatham and operations taken over by new ownership. Currently, the Chatham is owned by the Texas based company Studio Movie Grill.

In 1997 ICE Theaters built and opened theaters in the Chatham, Englewood, and Lawndale bring movie theaters back into inner city neighborhoods. He without a doubt leaves behind a significant legacy that hopefully other entrepreneurs in our communities will also do something as groundbreaking.

Condolences to the Starks family.

EDITED 10/4/2016 8:45 PM- Another post via Concerned Citizens of Chatham shows information on memorial services.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Vocalo: Chatham Changes

[AUDIO] The Vocalo's Barber Shop show discusses the current state of Chatham with journalists from City Bureau. Duration of this program is 48 minutes.

Having listened to this clip they talk to the owner of Dat Donut on 83rd & Cottage Grove. Also a question comes up about how we can bring the younger generation - millennials to the Chatham neighborhood for it's revitalization.

Bringing in millennials is something hinted in a post regarding Englewood and how that neighborhood could change in the future with an influx of new residents. Perhaps that's Chatham's future also.

Another important aspect of this discussion is the state of the Black middle class.

Monday, October 3, 2016

63rd & Halsted documented three years apart

Click here to see on ig

In June 2013, I posted a collage of four pictures at 63rd & Halsted. Today I post an updated collage of three pictures which you see above which also has been posted onto our ig page.

Between three years ago to this past Wednesday when we saw the opening of the highly anticipated Whole Food Market Englewood we see a building missing on the southwest corner and new structures on the northwest corner where there is now a shopping center.

The older collage you see below was published here in June 2013 that asks what would you like to see here. Well there's more development to be had here in this general area.

Also posted on ig
I also want to share with you a revisited post also published in Sept. 2013 not long after the initial Whole Foods announcement. In that post was a few ideas on what I would like to see happen there in addition to the retail in Englewood Square. Perhaps more entertainment such as a movie theater or a bowling alley. Also contained within this post is how 63rd and Halsted had once been considered one of Chicago's bright light districts.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Chicago Tonight: Whole Foods Brings Economic Development, Lower Prices to Englewood

Chicago Tonight did a story about the new Whole Foods Market Englewood that opened on Wednesday. Since this development was announced in 2013, there were plans to keep prices down at this store. It appears that they've kept their promise:
“Definitely there are lower prices here and some very reasonable prices. For an example, whole milk is $1.99 a gallon here, and it’s roughly $4 a gallon in our other locations,” said Michael Bashaw, regional president of Whole Foods. “I think you can go all through the store and look at commodity, day-to-day items that you need to feed your family, and you’ll find those good values.

“We are passing on the benefit of being here in Englewood … the rents are cheaper here, and so our operating costs are lower and that allowed us to have lower retails.”
The dreaded "G" word has come up in this excitement and it appears from this quote from Andrea Natay of RAGE that it's not a concern, “Whole Foods coming into the community does not equal gentrification. Whole Foods coming into the community equals great change. A great, positive change, at that.

Also consider the fact that 63rd & Halsted had once been an important commercial hub as stated on Chicago Tonight which went into decline during the 1960s and 1970s. We see a fall and now a rebirth.

Speaking of that, it's funny how before 2013 another member of RAGE - in fact the founder - was on WCIU calling for a Whole Foods in Englewood and then guess what it happens. If only I could find that video and preserve it as it had been posted here but is no longer available online. A self-fulfilling prophecy?

Disclaimer: One of the bloggers at The Sixth Ward is a Whole Foods Market team member.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Red line extension moves forward

Rendering of the 103rd CTA station
I'm somewhat disappointed that the red line extension to Roseland may not open until at least 2026 at the earlier according to what was written by Greg Hinz. Regardless more progress is being made in the future progress to bring the CTA L system further south from 95th street. This project is expected to cost about $2.3 billion.

As CTA continues to move forward we will see a draft environmental impact statement which will be seen on this project's website. In addition as hopefully construction would begin at 2022 at the earliest another step is to purchase those properties within the footprint of the route whether or not the CTA goes with the two options for their preferred routing.

Friday, September 30, 2016

VIDEO: Whole Foods Englewood and Starbucks Grand Opening

[VIDEO] JP Paulus was at the grand opening of the new Whole Foods Market Englewood on Wednesday morning. Hopefully he'll be ready to share his thoughts on this historic and exciting occasion at the intersection of 63rd & Halsted.

There are a few shots shared on ig regarding the grand opening provided by this blogger. Unfortunately I didn't get there in time for the grand opening and arrived just as the rain got heavier.

In the meanwhile, artistmac was there to shoot 33 minutes of video of the grand opening. He did this previously with the opening of Walmart stores in West Chatham and Pullman also. He was also there for the ground breaking at Englewood Square which took place in 2014.

Anyone else visited the store on the first day? How was your experience on the first day? Will the Englewood shop be your store in the future?

DISCLOSURE: One of the bloggers here at The Sixth Ward is a Whole Foods Market team member.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Also opening tomorrow in Englewood

DNAinfo/Kelly Bauer
The Starbuck's will be on the same property as the new Whole Foods Market Englewood at 63rd & Halsted. Two big grand openings at the center of the former Englewood shopping district and we get some huge revivals. Here's hoping this is only the beginning. 

In the meanwhile DNA Info discusses the new Starbuck's:
Starbucks will open its first store in Englewood the same day Whole Foods opens its doors to the community.

The store has joined the grocer in Englewood Square and will open at 5 a.m. Wednesday at 806 W. 63rd St.

The 2,200-square-foot store can seat up to 41 people with a room that will be double as a training center and a community room to hold poetry nights, group meetings and more.
And as with Whole Foods there is exciting especially from the new store manager at Starbuck's KK Williams:
Williams said as an Englewood resident, she is excited to welcome a Starbucks to the neighborhood, which is long overdue for a Starbucks.

“Nothing was here a few years ago,” Williams said. “Englewood is up and coming and it’s great to hear there are more positive things going on because you never hear that. Anything negative, it’s on the TV.”
As noted here on this blog on occasion and in this article regarding Starbuck's and Whole Foods there are some trepidation. Will Whole Foods Market make money in a neighborhood with a negative reputation. Ms. Williams noted the negative responses of people from outside of the community. Here's hoping for more good news as Starbuck's open at 5 AM and Whole Foods Market Englewood open later that morning.

I want to share with you Whole Foods Englewood instagram. Surely they'll have plenty of photos of the grand opening and the first day.

Whole Foods in Engelwood opening tomorrow...

Sorry for this lazy blog post, but here's press release about Whole Foods opening in Englewood tomorrow (Wednesday). All the details are there...


Job Opportunities, Financial Literacy to be Showcased at Englewood Whole Foods Grand Opening

CHICAGO – (September 26, 2016) – The Financial Opportunity Center of Metropolitan Family Services will offer financial tools and job training and opportunities at the grand opening celebration of the Whole Foods in Englewood from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016. The store is located at 932 W. 63rd Street.

The Financial Opportunity Center (FOC), located on the campus of Kennedy King College, will be inviting adults ages 18-25 years old to open a checking account through #Englewood BAND$, a pilot project connecting young people to financial resources in their community.

The FOC also will be recruiting for the Bridge Program, a 16-week paid job training program that provides soft skills training as well as customer service credentials, and places participants at companies such as Walgreens, the local Kusanya CafĂ© – and the new Whole Foods and Starbucks.

“We are excited about the opportunities for not just jobs, but entrepreneurship, careers and healthy eating, which are all important to this community,” said Christine Brown, Senior Program Supervisor at Metropolitan Family Services. “Whole Foods and Starbucks are great places to work and offer a lot of great benefits, but individuals from our community may not have seen themselves as able to work at companies like these. We hope to help change that.”

The FOC has placed five clients in jobs at Whole Foods so far, including Lavetta and Lavelle Shaffer, who will attend the grand opening as Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) volunteers. The family, which includes a year-old son, were homeless last year. After job training through Metropolitan both parents are attending school and employed at the Englewood Whole Foods. 

The Financial Opportunity Center of Metropolitan Family Services partners with Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation, Teamwork Englewood, LISC, US Bank, Guaranty Bank, and Marquette Bank to provide #Englewood BAND$, the Bridge Program, and other services for Englewood community members.

About Metropolitan Family Services
Metropolitan Family Services empowers families to learn, to earn, to heal, to thrive. Part mentor, part motivator, part advocate, since 1857 Metropolitan Family Services has been the engine of change that empowers families to reach their greatest potential and positively impact their communities. Metropolitan is Illinois’ first comprehensive human services agency and reaches more than 68,000 families and individuals annually through seven community centers in Chicago, Evanston/Skokie, the southwest suburbs and DuPage County. Metropolitan’s services promote education, economic stability, emotional wellness and empowerment. metrofamily.org