CHICAGO (CBS) — Morgan Park residents hope a new Old Navy store that opened Thursday will breathe some new life into the neighborhood; but as the new store opens, two Target stores on the South Side are closing.
Old Navy will hire 50 people for its store at Marshfield Plaza, at 119th and Marshfield, and the company has promised great career opportunities for young people in the neighborhood.
However, the opening of the new store was bittersweet for many in the South Side neighborhood, with Target planning to close its 128,000-square-foot store in the strip mall, taking with it 128 jobs. Target also plans to close its store in the Chatham neighborhood.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is not happy with Target’s decision to close stores two South Side stores, not long after the City Council voted to authorize $13 million in tax assistance for a Northwest Side shopping center project that includes a new Target store.
Target also plans to open a new store in Rogers Park by the end of 2020.
Ald. Carrie Austin questioned the wisdom of Target’s move.
“They’re closing two African American stores, but they’re opening two in a Caucasian area, and they don’t know the bottom line for them yet. So how can you anticipate the bottom line for them, and say that you’re not making enough money with us?” Austin said.
Austin and Emanuel praised Old Navy’s commitment to Morgan Park.
“We stand up and we applaud a company that’s creating jobs, economic opportunity, and saying to all parts of the city, ‘You count,’” Emanuel said.
The mayor’s office announced Wednesday that he had signed an executive order that would require companies to promise they have no plans to close operations in other parts of the city when receiving financial assistance for new operations.
Target released a statement which said in part, “The decision to close a store is always difficult, and a store is only closed after it’s shown several years of decreasing profitability.”
Emanuel has called the CEO of Target several times in an effort to convince the company to reconsider closing the two South Side stores, to no avail.
Congressman Bobby Rush has planned a community meeting Thursday night at New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church to discuss efforts to keep those stores open.