CHICAGO (CBS) — Ground was broken Tuesday on a new commercial and residential development in Bronzeville, a project the likes of which haven’t been seen in that neighborhood in 50 years.
CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports new life will fill a vacant lot at the long-neglected southwest corner of 47th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the Bronzeville community “is just poised for economic growth and economic development in a great neighborhood.”
Local business and community leaders broke ground Tuesday afternoon on “The Shops and Lofts at 47,” a new business and mixed-income housing development.
The $46 million complex will be anchored by a 41,000-square-foot Wal-Mart “Neighborhood Market” store that focuses mostly on groceries. The development also will include 96 mixed-income rental apartment and 14,000-additional square feet of commercial space, in addition to the Wal-Mart store, which has a 20-year lease for its location.
Ald. William Burns (4th) explained why it has taken seven years to break ground on the project.
“The economic collapse of 2008; you know, there were other tenants that were lined up, and when the economic crash occurred, they walked away, and Wal-Mart stepped into the gap,” he said.
With 100 jobs promised to Bronzeville residents, Wal-Mart expects to have the store open next year. It’s one of eight “Neighborhood Market” stores Wal-Mart has built or is building in Chicago.
“It’s difficult to be the first. It’s hard to be the first one to see a vision, and to say ‘I’m willing to invest in this community. I’m willing to roll the dice, to build commercial real estate, to put housing on top of it, to help rebuild a community,” Burns said. “Others are going to come after, I have no doubt about that.”
The mayor said, with improved roads, bridges, and parks to follow in Bronzeville, other business will open up in the neighborhood.
“In each of these neighborhoods — whether it’s Pullman, whether it’s up in Loyola, Uptown, Englewood, or here in Bronzeville — we are going to invest in a way to give the Chicago neighborhoods now that kind of jumpstart for all the homeowners, for all the businesses in the area; to make sure that this project is not an island,” Emanuel said.
The project is expected to be complete in about a year.