The City Council unanimously voted today to let Wal-Mart build a second store in Chicago, ending six years of political gridlock that prevented the giant retailer from expanding inside city limits.Next stops? Chatham and Englewood? What do you think about this development!
"Today's vote sets the stage for a strong, long-term relationship with Wal-Mart in neighborhoods all across the city," Mayor Richard Daley said. "If it can happen in a suburban area, why not here? As simple as that."
The vote allows construction to begin on the 270-acre Pullman Park development on the South Side that will be anchored by a Super Wal-Mart. It is a project long championed by Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th, who said the new store will bring badly needed jobs in a hard-hit area suffering from a dearth of grocery stores.
The council’s action, Beale said, signaled “a better day and a better opportunity for our communities. . . . This was about the people, and we finally — in this body — finally put people first, in front of politics.”
The vote gave Wal-Mart a key victory in its effort to build dozens of new city stores, large and small, while also ending a years-long political battle that pitted Wal-Mart, Mayor Richard Daley and the city’s business community against the unions and aldermen who supported them.
UPDATE 3:40 PM A statement from Wal-Mart via e-mail:
“Today is a victory for the residents of the South Side. The Mayor, Alderman Beale and the Council are to be commended for representing the will of the people of Chicago.
But there is more to do. To that end, we have already started to identify additional opportunities across the City that will help more Chicagoans save money and live better.
Over the next several months, we look forward to working with the City to help ensure our stores are part of the solution in terms of creating jobs, stimulating economic development and eradicating food deserts here.
With each new store that opens here and every new job created, Chicago moves one step closer towards returning the City to better economic times while also serving as a successful model for other cities across the country that face similar challenges.”