Report: Alderman Opposes River North Wal-Mart
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Another planned Wal-Mart store in the city is meeting with opposition, this time reportedly from the local alderman.
In a report this week, Crain’s Chicago Business said Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) had come out in opposition to a proposed Wal-Mart Express store in the old Pearl Art Supplies space at 225 W. Chicago Ave.
Reilly said he was concerned about the impact on traffic and parking, and the proximity to busy CTA bus lines and ‘L’ stops, Crain’s reported.
The alderman said he already told Wal-Mart about his opposition, and has offered to help find them another more suitable location close to downtown, according to Crain’s.
Reilly has not addressed the issue on his Facebook page, although at least one opponent has done so, making reference to traffic, parking and “900,000 Wal-Mart plastic bags blowing around our hood.”
Wal-Mart has not confirmed it is planning to move into the space, but an earlier Crain’s report said the retailer would open a 14,300 square-foot convenience store-style outlet in the space at Chicago Avenue and Franklin Street. There is no lease finalized.
But plans are far more concrete for another space farther north in the East Lakeview neighborhood where Wal-Mart wants to locate, and where neighbors have come out in force to keep the retailer out.
The approximately 30,000 square-foot Wal-Mart Market would open in the Broadway at Surf retail complex in the 2800 block of North Broadway, in two empty storefronts that previously housed a Wolf Camera and a Pet Smart, and an occupied storefront from which a Cost Plus World Market store would be forced out.
They have also expressed concern about the business and labor practices at the world’s largest retailer. Some have also said the store could cost the neighborhood more jobs than it would create — particularly since an existing store would have to close to make way for the planned Wal-Mart.
At the meeting of the South East Lake View Neighbors Association (SELVN) last week, Bisio presented the planned Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market as serving a need for a low-cost store in the neighborhood. He said the store would carry food and produce items, beauty products, pharmacy items, and “limited” general merchandise such as computer printer paper.
Bisio met with a mostly hostile crowd at the meeting, most of whom wore stickers or buttons protesting the planned Wal-Mart.
Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) has acknowledged neighbors’ concerns, but said some neighbors had also spoken out to him in favor of the Wal-Mart. He also emphasized the city cannot legally stop Wal-Mart from renting the space and moving in, if the retailer conforms to zoning restrictions.
The planned East Lakeview Wal-Mart will be discussed at another SELVN community meeting on May 9 at the Wellington Avenue Church, 615 W. Wellington Ave.