Thursday, May 14, 2020

Editorial: The Avenue could again become magnificent #Ward09

The Chicago Neighborhood
This editorial from the Chicago Sun-Times makes reference to last year's fire at the former Gatelys Department store on the Michigan Avenue shopping strip south of 111th Street. It's probably time to redevelop that corridor, especially in time for that Red Line extension whenever it gets funded and construction starts.
Keep an eye on the Roseland neighborhood’s Michigan Avenue, once a retail strip so popular it was called Chicago’s second Magnificent Mile.

Shoppers could find anything from school supplies to furniture to brand new cars.

Rocked by two devastating extra-alarm fires within the last year, and now slammed by a pandemic that’s likely to change forever how we shop and gather, the faded and struggling commercial strip faces a tough future.

But “The Avenue” — as this stretch of Michigan Avenue between 115th and 107th was called in its heyday — now is being targeted by the city for possible redevelopment.

The plans were in place before the coronavirus broke out and they’ll need to be modified. But given that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit all traditional retail strips hard — have you seen the boarded up stores on North Michigan Avenue these days? — saving The Avenue should be even more of a priority.

When neighborhood shopping dies, neighborhoods die.

The Avenue’s day as a regional commercial giant are not likely to return. People just don’t shop in brick-and-mortar stores the way they used to, and the street’s major retailers, such as JCPenney, are long gone.

But the buildings still stand and could be reused in potentially exciting new ways. And if done correctly, the lessons learned here could be applied to troubled commercial streets in neighborhoods elsewhere on the South and West sides.
Probably excerpted a lot more than I should've so I'll stop there and hope that you'll read the whole thing.

The editorial itself makes reference to this strip's proximity to the Pullman National Monument. How could the businesses and the community leverage that. The Avenue - at least for those old school residents might refer to the strip - might not return to the glory days. I still would like to see what plans could develop with revitalization. What entrepreneurs can become successful in this area.

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