GRAND BOULEVARD — A grocery store once slated for Bronzeville may be back on the table after more than three years.
Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) announced plans for a Pete’s Fresh Market in late 2018 on the former site of Stateway Gardens housing project and later Crispus Attucks Elementary, which was demolished last year.
The land, at State Street and Pershing Road, is owned by the the city, the Chicago Housing Authority and Chicago Public Schools.
The effort stalled after a handful of community meetings, but a developer tied to the project said there’s some progress to finally make the grocery store a reality.
Zeb McLaurin said his team is finalizing a development schedule with Pete’s Fresh Market to hammer out the details with the city, which may require vacating portions of Dearborn Street north of Pershing Road. McLaurin also said environmental studies for site remediation are underway, and they’ve had interest from other companies about setting up shop near a new Pete’s.
Nothing official has been filed with the city’s Department of Planning and Development, but Dowell, who recently announced she will run for Bobby Rush’s South Side Congressional seat, urged residents to write letters to Mayor Lori Lightfoot to say they support they project.
“… Our goal is to be in the ground this year to start the Pete’s construction so that they can be open by early next year,” McLaurin said.
Pete’s operates 17 locations in the Chicago area.
The proposal dates back to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration. McLaurin said a new mayor then the pandemic stymied the progress from several meetings among the CHA, city officials and the Housing and Urban Development to facilitate land swaps.
Supply chain issues affecting the construction industry were another factor, increasing potential costs for what would be a 60,000-square-foot building, McLaurin said.
Should Pete’s come to fruition, it would sit down the street from another grocery, Mariano’s, 3857 S. Martin Luther King Dr. McLaurin said the Pershing Avenue land is the only suitable location for a market that size, while Dowell said supported giving Bronzeville residents more grocery options.
“It creates a great sense of competition. I look at what happened at the Jewel on 35th Street after Mariano’s moved in, and now [company leaders] are investing in that Jewel,” Dowell said.
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