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Roseland One Step Closer to Full-Service Grocery Store

Roseland and West Pullman residents are one step closer to their first full-service grocery store.

grocery day
Image by by Janine via Flickr

Chicago Plan Commissioners unanimously approved the construction of a retail facility at the corner of South Michigan Avenue and East 115th Street on the far South Side that will include an Aldi grocery store.

The retail development is in the heart of a food desert, James Inendino, an attorney at Loeb & Loeb representing the project’s developer, told commissioners Thursday.

Inendino said developers estimate the planned Aldi super-market chain will positively impact up to 30,000 residents.

Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) said he supports the project, which is located in his ward.

“This project is way behind,” Beale said. “The community has been waiting for this Aldi for about four years…we’re finally at a point where we are ready to move forward.”

Mari Gallagher of Mari Gallagher Research and Consulting Group, a national firm that conducts studies involving the impact of food deserts on public health in Chicago, said the retail facility is a “very important” site for a grocery store. She said no other stores have a large, fresh selection of healthy foods in the immediate area.

“We are a little discourage it’s taking so long, but encouraged that it’s slowly moving forward,” Gallagher said.

She said the Aldi will have a massive impact on the surrounding neighborhoods.

“Even one store can do a lot to eliminate the food desert,” she said. “A strategic-placed location can have a ripple-effect across other communities.”

Inendino said Aldi has signed on for a 10-year lease at the location.

The project application now goes to the Chicago City Council’s Committee on Zoning, Landmark and Building Standards for final approval, said Patrick Murphey, a spokesman for the city’s Housing and Economic Development Department.

If approved, construction of the 49,000 square-foot facility would start immediately, and the Aldi would open next year, Inendino said.

Project developer Musa Tadros, principle of Crown Roseland LLC, is in the process of seeking an additional anchor for the facility, he said in remarks after the meeting.

Tadros, who has been a real estate and retail developer in Roseland since 1982, said he has worked on the plans for the retail facility since 2004.

“Everything so far we’ve spent from our own funds,” Tadros said. “We try to bring services and retailers that the community needs.”

More than 200 permanent and 450 temporary construction jobs will be created once the project kicks off, Inendino said.

There are four bus and two Metra rail routes that service the area. Bicyclists will have storage racks in the parking lot, which will include 208 parking spots.

Project developer Tadros plans to pay for the retail center’s construction with developer equity, PNC Bank new-market tax credits and a $3 million tax increment financing subsidy–if approved by the city in January. The project is located in the Roseland/Michigan TIF district.

The TIF subsidy would cover about 20 percent of the project’s total cost, which Inendino did not specify.

“There has been great interest in the project, because it’s in a food desert,” Inendino said.

Gallagher said it is the future of the neighborhood’s nutritional needs that it most important.

“We look forward to the day when we can step inside and see the products that will help children and mothers with their nutritional needs,” she said.

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