July 15, 2009 – Real estate developers will present changes to a Bronzeville redevelopment project at a July 15 meeting of the Chicago Plan Commission.
Metropolis 39th and State LLC wants to turn a vacant lot at 39th and State into a community shopping center.
The original plan for housing and retail development was modified because of a slow economy, said Matt Braun, an analyst for Capri Capital Partners LLC. Braun added the new community shopping center would cost less than the original plan but declined to comment by how much.
“We wanted to make sure we saw this through. We made necessary adjustments to the plan to make this a viable option,” said Braun in reference to the project’s downsizing.
The Metropolis, located along Pershing Road between State and Federal streets and blocks away from the Dan Ryan Expressway, plans to develop retail and grocery store space in eight separate buildings.
So far, the only retailer to commit is Roundy’s, a Wisconsin-based chain of grocery stores. The 60,000 square-foot, full-service supermarket is scheduled to open in fall 2010.
“It’s a great retailer for this neighborhood,” said Bronzeville Community Club House President John A. Cook. “(Roundy’s) would be successful because there is no other retailer here. There’s nothing but upside in this community.”
“When a private sector company makes an investment like (Roundy’s), it helps attract other investors and retailers to the (community),” said Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd).
Bronzeville currently has few retailers and no grocery stores in the neighborhood.
“We have limited shopping options,” said Ald. Dowell. “We are in desperate need for a full-scale store to provide basic staples without leaving the community.”
The shopping center will bring money and jobs to a community where 38 percent of households were below the poverty level in 2000, according to the U.S. Census.
Quad Communities Development Corp. spokeswoman Lynn Kardasz said besides creating jobs and keeping money in the community, local retailers are better for the environment, increase home value and build a stronger community.
“It’s a very holistic approach to how we can get things done,” said Kardasz.
“(Redevelopment) creates a safer and denser environment where folks do not have to travel so far to get what they need,” said Kardasz. “As the community grows, they will know their neighbors better and create a better quality of life all the way around.”
In 2006, the population of the 39th and State Streets area was close to 220,000 residents, a 2.1 percent decline since 2000, according to national real estate researcher CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc.
“There is a lot of opportunity for the community to grow,” said Cook. “I think that will happen with proper placement of retailers.”