reported that Whole Foods was coming to Englewood my first thought was gentrification. A high-end grocery store coming to an impoverished community surely would bring about charges of higher-income people moving into the neighborhood in the future. As it turns out there is concern over the dreaded G word in light of this new development.
Over the years we've talked about this issue but mainly since we hope to keep this blog focused on the 6th ward or more specifically the Chatham community it's only in this context did we talk about gentrification. In this vein we did some posts on Chatham "South Looped".
The concerns raised here isn't much different than what's being raised currently by some Englewood residents and perhaps in other changing neighborhoods around the city. I'm sure the level of activism that exists in Englewood with RAGE as one of the foremost neighborhood organization there is a possibility that many longtime families who live there wouldn't get squeezed out so easily.
Earlier the term higher-income was used however read that as code for race because in the context of Englewood that would certainly be a consideration. Who's to say that the gentrifiers moving in won't be Black? If anyone is concerned about the change of racial composition of this neighborhood there's a way to address that issue as well.
Earlier in the summer, I had posted a CBS 2 story about Englewood. It showed that aside from the issues of crime, the neighborhood had a lot going for itself. Not only the activists - as Aysha Butler of RAGE was interviewed - but also the history with the antique housing that still exists in the neighborhood. It even showed how some of the owners are doing what they can to keep them up. Also let's not forget about the transit infrastructure already in place is certainly considered an asset.
It only brings up another issue, who owns the property. While I have little information about real estate prices in Englewood currently when it comes to gentrification it's a matter of buying up the property before the real estate prices start to rise.
Will Englewood change because Whole Foods Market will be setting up shop at 63rd/Halsted soon?
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