Wabash Avenue Reopens After CTA Station Construction

CHICAGO (CBS) — New light brings hope to jewelers in the loop.

Hundreds of owners on Jewelers Row have suffered through more than two years of construction, at the CTA L stop at Wabash, between Monroe and Washington.

As CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports, the main road that got people to these businesses finally opened.
For more than two years, Koorosh Daneshgar has had a front row view of the construction along Wabash, between Washington and Madison.

Since it started in March of 2015, work crews had blocked street traffic and scaffolding blocked the sun until Monday.

“I said oh my God, this is like heaven. This is beautiful,” Daneshgar said.

Daneshgar is among the dozens of jewelers along the block who have suffered during the CTA’s $75-million remodeling of the Washington-Wabash L stop.

“We had walk-in customers drop about 25 percent,” Daneshgar said.

“We went down like 50 percent,” said Tony Souri, manager of Prudential Gems.

CBS: How did you survive two years?

“The owner supported the last two years,” Souri said.

But not all owners could afford the hit and some closed.

Valet parking companies took a big hit too, as well as their employees.

“On a busy day we make $100, on a slow day $20,” said Rakim Clay, parking attendant.

There have been a lot of slow days, but with traffic finally moving along Wabash…

“I’m happy,” Clay said. “I’ll get more hours so I can’t complain.”

Also no longer complaining – pedestrians, like Loop worker Daniel Miller.

“You could hardly get in. It was like you were in a tunnel,” Miller said.

But now…

CBS: What is it like walking down here now?

“Beautiful,” he said. “Instagram worthy.”

Construction crews are putting the finishing touches on the platform. It is scheduled to be finished next month.

CBS: What do you think it is going to mean for business when it’s all done?

“It brings lot of people downtown. They look once, they look twice. They buy the third time,” Souri said.

The station is expected to be one of the busiest in the city.

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