Friday, March 21, 2008

Wal-Mart's uphill South Side battle

This article is from today's Tribune and hat-tip to YoChicago who believes that unions are attempting to make their mark in preventing Wal-Mart from coming to Chatham Market on 83rd Street. Even alleged here that the residents of the 21st Ward where this Wal-Mart will be located actually wants a Wal-Mart there. Here's what Chatham residents quoted in the article are saying about bringing in a Wal-Mart of course in posting this I know I might hear from some people who doesn't like Wal-Mart...
Franklin Johnson is a 35-year-resident of the Chatham neighborhood and said he wants Wal-Mart to come because it will bring hundreds of jobs. Arnita Mock Harris, another resident, said she and her mother travel to Evergreen Park and Lansing to shop at Wal-Mart and would rather shop in the city if they could.

"We don't shop in our neighborhood," said Harris. "The prices are too high. We go to the suburbs."

In the end, it could be that no one will be able to find a way around one big obstacle—a letter the original developer, Monroe Investment Partners LLC, sent to city officials in 2004 saying, "Wal-Mart is not now, and will not be, a part of our development."

Since then, Monroe turned the project over to Archon but retains a small stake. Some aldermen question whether the City Council would have had enough votes to rezone the site for retail if that letter never existed, knowing that Wal-Mart wanted to build there.

The quagmire leaves residents like Lorri Baldwin worried that the shopping center will sit unfinished for years.

"I'm very upset and I'm really disappointed with the city," said Baldwin, president of the West Chatham Improvement Association. "We really want the shopping center to be successful. We don't need buildings that will become decayed and empty. It is a wonderful opportunity and the politics is killing it."

Well I'm of the mind that the city has no right to tell a business whether they can or can't open an establishment. I'm sure there is a legal justification for it but I have no idea myself what that is. I suppose it's OK if there are people against a business coming to town and they rally against it in which case if they open anyway, the market could work against such a business.

Check out the earlier post on the planned 83rd Street Wal-Mart.

Addition: Here's a graphic provided by the Tribune with this article.

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