Daley asks for approval of 3rd Wal-Mart

By Tribune staff report
Posted July 22, 2010 at 5:24 p.m.

Approval for Chicago’s third Wal-Mart will follow hard on the heels of the second if Mayor Richard Daley has his way.

Daley held a news conference today to call on the City Council Finance Committee to approve a long-discussed Wal-Mart store at the corner of 83rd Street and Stewart Avenue in the Chatham neighborhood.

The proposal is on the committee’s Friday agenda.

Finance Committee member Ald. Thomas Tunney, 44thh, said it’s likely the Chatham store will have the support to pass, because a protracted battle between pro-union aldermen and the giant retailer over a plan for the city’s second Wal-Mart, in the Far South Side’s Pullman neighborhood, ended late last month with the City Council approving it 50-0.

“I think there was the assumption that after the Pullman store got approved, this one would come up pretty quickly,” Tunney said.

If Wal-Mart agrees to the same starting salary for workers as at the Pullman location –  $8.75 an hour, 50 cents above the minimum wage – and pledges to use union construction workers to build it, aldermen will likely support the plan, he said.

But Ald. Robert Fioretti, 2nd, said aldermen may want to see if Wal-Mart follows through on promises before signing on for another location within city limits.

“We have to see whether they live up to their commitment first before we start building all these Wal-Marts in the city,” Fioretti said.

Ald. Howard Brookins, 21st, who has spent years crusading for the Chatham Wal-Mart, said he’s confident in the outcome at the Finance Committee. “I think it’s going to pass unanimously,” Brookins said.

Ald. Joe Moore, 49th, a member of the Finance Committee and a Wal-Mart critic who nonetheless voted for the Pullman store, said he does not support building one at 83rd and Stewart. He said the dearth of grocery stores on the Far South Side made it difficult to oppose the Pullman development, which will be built near 111th Street west of the Bishop Ford Expressway and include groceries. “But Chatham’s not a food desert,” he said of the latest proposal.

The mayor repeated his oft-stated support of Wal-Mart on Thursday, describing it as a positive force in Chicago in terms of sales tax and property tax, as well as a rare chance for new jobs in a down economy.

“It’s critical that we move ahead with this third store now and with more stores in the future,” Daley said while speaking at Prosser Academy in the Austin neighborhood, near where the first Wal-Mart opened in Chicago in 2006.

Daley could approve the Chatham Wal-Mart on his own, but said he wants to “educate your aldermen” about the broad support Wal-Mart enjoys among Chicagoans.

“Because if Mayor Daley does it, ‘Oh, the boss does it, he just rams it down, it doesn’t matter, he’s just going to push it right down,’” Daley said. “No. What happened here, you educated your aldermen.”

“I think it’s appropriate that (aldermen) stand up as men and women who have leadership in their community, and say, ‘This is a good thing. We’ve been educated about this,’” he added.

If it passes the Finance Committee, the Chatham Wal-Mart would likely come before the full City Council next Wednesday.

– John Byrne

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  1. Hank July 22, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    All of a sudden the mayor wants Walmarts on every block….because he needs the election votes.

  2. Darius July 22, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    These developments mean hundreds of jobs for skilled trades, laborers, Teamsters and others in addition to store employees. It is hard to imagine that anyone would wish to deny those people the opportunity to work amid the worst economic downturn in recent history.

  3. knowdalaw July 22, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    I want to tell Mayor Daley and the Alderman of Chicago, that shopping at Wal-Mart is not always the best deals. It is not the prime of life to have a Wal-Mart. I mean, we need other stores too. I frankly do not like the customer service at Wal-Mart. Chicago can survive if we do not have a third Wal-Mart, okay.

  4. Bob July 22, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Leave it to Bob Fioretti to try to stop economic development and development in general. We need jobs and buildings in the city. They are good things. We have all sorts of ugly, empty lots. Aldermen like Fioretti just get in the way of progress that is why it is so hard to turn cities around. They think Chicago is a socialist state. How does he think we are going to move forward and get an increased tax base? Cut the number of aldermen in half as most of what they do is stop things and not lead.

  5. Dave July 22, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    Wal mart does not always have the best prices on everything but i guarantee you that if you shop there for your everyday needs you will save money. The place saves people lots of money everyday. The one on the westside has prices so much better than other stores in the city we drive from the lake on the south side just to shop there.

    You dont have to like Wal Mart and you may fall for half of the BS that has been said about them but IF you want to save money and Most of us do these days then you shop at wal mart and deal with the lines etc.

    There is a reason they are SO Busy and Building stores at over double the pace of their nearest competitors. It`s not because of their pretty buildings is it?