Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Second Chicago Wal-Mart May Never Come

From Channel 2...

It looks like the city of Chicago might not get a second Wal-Mart store after all.

The Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday that the City of Chicago has rejected a request by the world's largest retailer to build another store in the South Side's Chatham neighborhood.

For the project to move forward, Wal-Mart will need to get a law changed by the City Council. Under the current zoning for the Chatham Market shopping center at 83rd Street and Stewart Avenue, the city must approve any tenant leasing more than 100,000 square feet, the Tribune said.

Wal-Mart officials say they are still hopeful they can work out a solution with the city.

The first Wal-Mart in the city limits opened in September 2006 at North and Kilpatrick avenues on the city's West Side. That followed a spectacular political battle that began when the City Council passed an ordinance that would have required "big box" stores to pay workers at least $10 an hour plus $3 in fringe benefits.

The rules would only have applied to companies with more than $1 billion in annual sales and stores of at least 90,000 square feet.
I literally hate to open up another argument where people talk about whether or not there should be a mandated living wage. Two years ago I'd argue for the benefit of bringing job to struggling city neighborhoods. I still feel that way and I definitely won't join an argument in favor of a "living wage" with the belief that empolyers should pay a wage they deem fit.

At the same time there are those who don't care for Wal-Mart for fairly valid reasons as I've seen in this vid. This is not an Illinois focused video, but there are reasons to not like Wal-Mart other than because unions don't like them or whatever other contrived reason that can be had...
Still Chatham is a good neighborhood to have a Wal-Mart. There aren't many mom-and-pop stores that might run out of business. This should be a super-center where groceries should be sold so Jewel/Osco on 87th Street and the Chatham Food Center on 79th Street might have a run for their money.

Addition: A rare comment is posted at one of my other blogs, The Sixth Ward, where this post is cross-posted and asks some good questions.
Did you know some Chatham residents take pride in the fact that our community has the most black owned businesses in Chicago? ("mom & pop stores") And, did you know Chatham Food Mart is the only black owned grocery store in Illinois? So, do you still think Chatham is a good neighborhood to have a Wal-Mart?
Well Chatham is certainly a place well known for black-owned businesses. I'm certainly aware that Chatham Food Center (I apologize for not getting the name right) is the only black-owned grocery store in the state. Now as for Chatham being good for a Wal-Mart, well I could say it's good enough for a Target so it's certainly good enough for a Wal-Mart. That being said I wish I had an answer as to whether or not a Wal-Mart might automatically harm the Chatham neighborhood and those businesses already contain within. I would like to think even with a Wal-Mart they would still survive. I'm not convinced that keeping Wal-Mart out of the neighborhood is the answer.

3 comments:

Anonymous,  6:22 PM  

In my south suburban youth I befriended a group of Chicago expatriates who moved out during the white flight. They always took trips back to their neighborhoods to see how they had changed. I remember dozens of neighborhood stores with burglar bars on all the doors and windows and prices half again as high as the burbs, and liquor stores and currency exchanges with similar characteristics. Is that the way it still is? And is this the kind of "merchant" that the city is protecting by keeping WM out?

GreenCutip 1:27 AM  

I see a lot of Green Party values in that youTube video on Wal-Mart. In fact, Greens all around the country are helping with the fight to keep Wal-Mart out of their communities. The Green ideology advocates localism and devolving decision making to the lowest body possible - the community - in accordance with its Key Values of Decentralization, Grassroots democrats, and community based economics.
(see 10 Key values: http://www.gp.org/tenkey.shtml)

Not only does Wal-Mart contribute to urban sprawl, an unhealthy economic model, and oppressive working conditions, it also steamrolls community business and community character like the video said.

This is why we are seeing strange bedfellows when it comes to alot of issues that cross political ideologies. You'll see Green and a lot of traditional conservatives joining forces to oppose Wal-Marts into their community. On this issue alone seemingly unlikely to form between Greens and others from the center-right:

-Greens encourage vibrant local economies and businesses while many traditional conservatives may value keeping local character intact

-Greens and farmers would oppose Wal-Marts because farms are being encroached upon by urban sprawl.

-Greens and libertarians oppose eminent domain seizures of property used by corporations and local governments

The business model of Wal-Mart is both short sighted and unprofitable in the long term. As consumers and individual members of our respective communities, we need to think critically about our purchasing choices and rights as citizens.

steve schnorf 5:59 PM  

Yeah, Green, life has been a real bitch for WalMart, because of their short-sighted, unprofitable business model. Be sure and tell Sam's kids, each of whom became one of America's 10 richest, with just their share of the family fortune when he died.

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