By TONIA HILL
A brand new grocery store is on the way in Woodlawn. Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on Tuesday, April 25, that Jewel-Osco will build a full-service grocery store and drive-through pharmacy on the northwest corner of 61st Street and Cottage Grove Avenue.
Theresa Walton, who has lived in Woodlawn for over 47 years, said since Hillman’s grocery store left the area she has had to travel downtown to go the grocery store.
“I am grateful that I will not have to jump on the Green Line to go to downtown to Jewel’s anymore,” said Walton, who is also president of the Grove Parc, Woodlawn Park Tenets Association.
“We are improving the quality of life in Woodlawn and the Washington Park community with the building of this facility,” Ald. Willie Cochran (20th) said.
Emanuel said families in the community would no longer have to drive out of the neighborhood to access fresh fruits and vegetables. The closest grocery store in the area currently is an ALDI, 6621 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
He also mentioned that the city is taking the next significant step in the “renaissance and resurgence happening across Woodlawn.”
Emanuel said, “This is not the end it’s a milestone that marks the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Woodlawn.”
Leon Walker managing partner of DL3 Realty, the group behind Englewood Square (63rd and Halsted), said it had been over 40 years since the last grocery store, Hillman’s left the area. He said the new store would be breaking a “40 year legacy of corporate disinvestment in Woodlawn.”
The 48,000-square-foot store will provide nearly 200 full and part-time jobs and offer fresh produce, a deli counter, ready-to-eat meals and other amenities.
The Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) owns the 3.5-acre parcel and is selling the land to DL3 Realty and Terraco for $2 million dollars.
DL3 Realty and Terraco, will build the store and lease the facility to Jewel-Osco that will include surface lot parking for 180 vehicles and a drive-thru for Osco drugstore customers.
Jewel-Osco will work with POAH to train and place residents in jobs at the new store.
“Jewel-Osco firmly believes in the importance of investing in communities,” Mike Withers, president of Jewel-Osco, said in a written statement. “The decision to build a new store in the Woodlawn neighborhood underscores our dedication to the residents and the City of Chicago.”
The announcement today comes on the heels in a surge of new development projects along Cottage Grove Avenue and 61st Street.
The new store will be across from MetroSquash, 6100 S. Cottage Grove Ave.; a recreational and educational center; the Woodlawn Resource Center, 6144 S. Cottage Grove Ave., a new residence hall for the University of Chicago (U. of C.); five new POAH apartment buildings; a rehabilitated Strand Hotel; new dining options and coffee shops.
On Monday, April 24, Emanuel announced plans to modernize the 63rd Street and Cottage Grove Avenue CTA station.
A dozen Woodlawn businesses participating in the city’s Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) have used more than $655,000 in grant funding to make nearly $1 million in building improvements. More than 200 hundred homes in the area have received Neighborhood Improvement Program grants for basic repairs.
The Jewel in Woodlawn is expected to open in late 2018.