Sunday, October 23, 2016

ICE Theaters Lawndale 10 by Costar Group
To be transparent, I edited the post regarding the death of ICE Theaters owner Donzell Starks that had been published earlier this month. The reason why is because there was no need to be stuck in some negativity as I realize there are a few people who might still mention the "hostile takeover" of the Chatham from over four years ago.

Originally when the blog post was published - and before any editing - was the inclusion of a link to a Crain's article from August 2015. It showed that ICE Theaters - or referred to as a Donzell Starks venture - had filed for bankruptcy. Starks' untimely demise was clearly a shock, but finding this article looking for any published reports in the mainstream media of Donzell's death was also a shock.

From 1997 to 2012, the Chatham theaters had been owned and operated by ICE Theaters. Then after a business dispute ICE moved to the ICE Theaters Lawndale 10 as their company headquarters. I called the showtimes phone number sometime in 2014 as I saw that the official company FB page had stopped updating. Learned at that time that the Lawndale facility had been closed in December 2013 open only for private events.

At this point it's a sad end for a company with a significant legacy. As noted in Crain's, ICE Theaters beat a bid by Magic Johnson to open three movie theaters in minority neighborhoods. Also the Starks owned Meridian which operated theaters in and around downtown Chicago which unfortunately didn't survive. Many of them were originally Cineplex-Odeon theaters.

Even during all the controversy over the Chatham after the events of October 2012 it's often noted the legacy of the Starks bringing movie theaters back to under served neighborhoods in our city.

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.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

ABC7: Millennials buy Englewood homes, help transform neighborhood

Let me say this from the jump, we all have the ability and indeed the right to live where we want to live. We can find people who stick out like a sore thumb in any community. The question is why do they stand out?

In this case the couple you see in this story from our ABC affiliate is one case in point. Not only that perhaps the future of many south side communities are couples like them. The main point we want the younger generation to come to these communities to essentially transform them.

I think JP Paulus - one of the bloggers here - stated that costs is what led him to Chatham. It's much less expensive to buy a house on the south side then to find a place on the north side. The couple you see in this video essentially says the same thing.

What may be a sore point for many who are looking for a good bargain when it comes to housing is crime. Englewood still has that reputation even though we know so many people are working to change that.

Either way what if Englewood eventually becomes the recipient of some new construction activity similar to what was reported by DNA Info if you simply drive due east along 63rd street.