City Council Approves $13.5 Million for Rehabilitation to Save Lots of Grocery Stores on South and West Sides

CHICAGO — Rehabilitations of six closed grocery stores on the South and West Sides will receive city dollars after a city council vote on Wednesday.

Alderpeople voted to allocate approximately $13.5 million in tax increment funding to Yellow Banana, which plans to lease and rehabilitate six Save A Lot stores in areas where many grocery stores have closed in recent years, leaving residents without essential sources of 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 fronts, complete interior remodeling and make other upgrades.

The stores:

  • 420 S. Pulaski Road in West Garfield Park
  • 2858 E. 83rd Street in South Chicago
  • 4439 W. 63rd St. at West Lawn
  • 7240 S. Stony Island Avenue in South Shore
  • 10700 S. Halsted St. in West Pullman
  • 7908 S. Halsted Street in Auburn Gresham

The Auburn Gresham site closed in 2020 and the West Garfield Park site temporarily closed in February due to a rat infestation.

Alderpeople mostly welcomed the move, although some expressed frustration that high-end grocery stores such as Jewel and Mariano are not planning to open on the premises.

The move comes just days after Whole Foods closed its Englewood site over the 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 criticized Whole Foods for its decision to close the store, saying it had “not been a good partner” in Chicago.

“They didn’t cooperate. They haven’t been transparent,” Lightfoot said. “We still have to get over, frankly, a mindset of people who feel like they can’t and won’t go south of Roosevelt Road or west of Ashland.”

Funding for individual Save A Lot store rehabilitations will range from $1.75 million for the West Lawn site to more than $2.6 million for the Auburn Gresham site, city officials said.

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