CHICAGO — The rehabs of six closed grocery stores on the South and West sides will get city dollars after a City Council vote Wednesday.
Alderpeople voted to allocate about $13.5 million in tax-increment financing to Yellow Banana, which plans to lease and rehabilitate six Save A Lot stores in areas where numerous grocery stores have closed in recent years, leaving residents without critical sources for fresh food.
Yellow Banana operates 38 other Save A Lot stores across the United States, according to its website. In Chicago, the Black-owned company plans to improve store facades, complete interior remodeling and complete other upgrades.
- 420 S. Pulaski Road in West Garfield Park
- 2858 E. 83rd St. in South Chicago
- 4439 W. 63rd St. in West Lawn
- 7240 S. Stony Island Ave. in South Shore
- 10700 S. Halsted St. in West Pullman
- 7908 S. Halsted St. in Auburn Gresham
The Auburn Gresham location closed in 2020, and the West Garfield Park location temporarily closed in February because of a rat infestation.
Alderpeople mostly praised the move, although some expressed frustration higher-end grocery stores such as Jewel and Mariano’s are not considering opening at the locations.
The move comes just days after Whole Foods closed its Englewood location this weekend. The grocery store opened in 2016 at 832 W. 63rd St. with a promise to help fill a food desert in the South Side neighborhood.
Speaking at Wednesday’s council meeting, Mayor Lori Lightfoot blasted Whole Foods for its decision to close the store, saying it has “not been a good partner” in Chicago.
“They have not been collaborative. They have not been transparent,” Lightfoot said. “We still have to break through, frankly, a mindset of people that feel like they can’t and don’t want to go south of Roosevelt Road or west of Ashland.”
The funding for the individual Save A Lot store rehabilitations will range between $1.75 million for the West Lawn location to more than $2.6 million for the Auburn Gresham location, city officials said.