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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Walmart in Pullman Park?

With the proposal for a Walmart in the Chatham neighborhood of Chicago stalled in the finance committee, there's a proposal that will be on the table soon for another Walmart in Chicago. This one will be in the far Southside of the city and is part of development known as Pullman Park.

This time we're talking about a Wal-Mart Supercenter proposed for an empty lot between 103rd and 111th streets next to the Bishop Ford Freeway. Wal-Mart is the critical element in an ambitious development called Pullman Park, which would bring thousands of jobs to the Far South Side.

Pullman Park would transform a 180-acre wasteland that once housed the Ryerson steel plant into a thriving business center for neighborhood stores and restaurants, 800 homes, a hotel, a recreation center, a park … and a Wal-Mart.

There are many similarities between this development of Walmart and the other proposal in Chatham. First, several hundred UNION contractors will be hired to build the store. The store will be self financed by Walmart. As such, this is a shovel ready project and will immediately create jobs during construction. It will also hire several hundred employees once the store is completed. Currently, the planned development is occupied by dirt as that area is not built by anything.

There is one difference between this project and the other Walmart in Chatham. This project will be part of a mini mall development and the developer is counting on Walmart to attract all other merchants into the mall. That means that if the Walmart isn't approved the entire Pullman Park project falls apart. The entire project including the Walmart has the support of the alderman in that ward, Anthony Beale of the 9th ward. Similarly, Alderman Howard Brookins supports the project now languishing in Chatham.

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