Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Whole Foods Market is coming to 63rd/Halsted

Rendering of 63rd/Halsted Whole Foods store

In June I put my eye on the intersection of 63rd & Halsted in the Englewood neighborhood. During most of the 20th Century it was a major commercial area that was home to stores and theaters and then by the 1960s that area began a long decline. Even the urban renewal that diverted traffic around the area save for CTA buses didn't stop the decline.

In recent years there have been new construction in the area, by 2007 Kennedy-King College was constructed in this area and now the other part of this area is expected to be built upon. Whole Foods Market is coming to this area by 2016.

The Sun-Times wrote:
Whole Foods Market is set to open an 18,000-square-foot store at 63rd Street and Halsted by 2016.

And the chain’s co-CEO, Walter Robb, knows exactly what you’re thinking.

Why would a high-end grocer known for its pricier organic offerings come to an impoverished South Side community?

Because Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked, Robb said. And because it fits with the mission of the 33-year-old chain based in Austin, Texas.

“It’s been our purpose to bring healthier foods to the world,” he said. “We realize it’s probably a stretch in your readers’ minds. But so what? Stretch is good.”

The store will anchor a 13-acre complex for which the city has promised TIF funding through the Chicago Neighborhoods Now initiative. From that, developer DL3 will get funding for a buildout. The complex will include retail and other shops, a park and green space.

On Wednesday, officials will announce what community leaders and others are calling a major coup: luring the chain to one of 11 parcels of land that the mayor has promoted to grocery CEOs since June 2011 as ripe for new grocery store developments.
And of course this means jobs for the students at Kennedy-King College nearby. Also Hyde Park is supposed to get a Whole Foods in their community in the near future so there will be two stores located further south of Roosevelt where one is located in the South Loop.

Here's hoping all goes to plan and we'll see some more construction in the former Englewood "downtown" in the near future!

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