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Aldermen Give Initial OK to $13.5M in TIF Funding To Rehab Six Save-A-Lot Grocery Stores

The grocery stores are all on the South or West sides, which have seen five grocery stores close in the past two years. 

The Save-A-Lot market in Auburn Gresham closed in February 2020.
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CITY HALL — Aldermen on Monday gave an initial OK to a measure that would give $13.5 million in tax-increment finance (TIF) dollars to a company planning to lease and rehab six Save-A-Lot grocery stores in the city.

Members of the City Council Committee on Finance unanimously approved the proposed TIF funding to Yellow Banana, LLC for the acquisition, lease and rehabilitation of existing Save-A-Lot grocery stores at the following locations:

  • 10700 S. Halsted St.
  • 2858 E. 83rd St.
  • 420 S. Pulaski Rd.
  • 4439 W. 63rd St.
  • 7240 S. Stony Island Ave.
  • 7908 S. Halsted St. 

The grocery stores are all on the South or West sides, which have seen five grocery stores close in the past two years. 

Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) asked whether the stores could be re-branded with a name other than Save-A-Lot as he said the name “may hold people up from using it.” Multiple other aldermen agreed.  

“The city is putting a significant investment out here,” Ervin said, adding he wants to “make sure people will actually utilize” the stores.  

Yellow Banana co-founder Michael Nance responded saying that “where there is a demand that these stores be branded something other than Save-A-Lot, we think we can get it done.” 

“It’s important we fully appreciate the reputational damage Save-A-Lot has done in the city of Chicago,” Nance said.  

Additionally, Yellow Banana plans to establish a shuttle service that would pick up people from “landlocked areas,” including seniors and people without cars, to help them get to the store and back home. 

Aldermen including Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) and Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th) were concerned they didn’t learn until Monday that some of the funding would come from TIFs in their wards.  

Speaking directly to Tim Jeffries, deputy director for the city’s Department of Planning and Development, Hairston said she was “thoroughly frustrated with the lack of communication” the department has with aldermen, “especially when you’re talking about taking millions of dollars out of my TIF.” 

The approximately $13.5 million in TIF dollars would be dispersed among the six Save-A-Lot locations in amounts ranging from more than $1.75 million for the 4439 W. 63rd St. location to $2.65 million for the 7240 S. Stony Island Ave. store. 

Yellow Banana plans to make improvements to the buildings’ interiors and exteriors. 

Aldermen also approved the following measures during Monday’s finance committee meeting: 

A $5 million payment to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of Michael Elam Jr., a 17-year-old boy who was fatally shot by a Chicago Police officer after attempting to flee following a car crash during a chase in 2019. CBS Chicago reported Elam’s family said he was unarmed, though the officer who shot him three times claims Elam had a gun. Aldermen also approved a $385,000 payment to settle a lawsuit brought by Dalila Rivera, who was injured in a crash with a Chicago Police car driven by Carlos Ortiz, and a $457,500 payment to settle a lawsuit brought by Larry Curtiswho claimed his finger was severed after getting slammed in a door by a Chicago Police officer. 

O2022-3583 — A proposal to “reallocate unused 2022 City bond volume cap to Chicago Housing Authority for rehabilitation of Albany Gaines apartments at 3030 West 21st Place in the 24th Ward and 3700 West Congress Parkway in the 28th Ward.” 

O2022-3558 — A measure that would extend the term of the 79th Street Corridor Tax increment financing district from 23 years to 35 years, ending on Dec. 31, 2034. 

O2022-3558 — A measure that would extend the term of the Homan-Arthington tax increment financing district from 23 years to 35 years, ending on Dec. 31, 2034. 

Get more in-depth, daily coverage of Chicago politics at The Daily Line.

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