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Walmart breaks new ground in Chicago

CHICAGO — About a week after announcing it would join First Lady Obama and other retailers in bringing more choices to so-called "food deserts", Walmart announced its official presence in Chicago today with the news that it has begun work on a new supercenter in Chatham. According to the company, the store will give more options to residents of Chicago's South Side neighborhood while at the same time creating approximately 400 jobs. The store, one of nine new locations now planned in the city, is scheduled to open in spring of 2012.

Construction of the Chatham Walmart is managed via a joint venture between Powers & Sons and UJAMAA Construction.  According to Jimmy Akintonde, president UJAMAA Construction Inc., more than 350 construction jobs will be created as a result of this project and the selection process will remain inclusive and local.

"Thanks to the support of Alderman Brookins and others, the approval of this store helped pave the way for additional opportunities," said Julie Murphy, SVP Walmart U.S. "Walmart is committed to creating 10,000 new jobs throughout Chicago as well as providing access for all residents to our every day low prices, particularly those residing in underserved areas of the city."

In June 2010, Walmart announced the "Chicago Community Investment Partnership," a five-year plan to open several dozen stores, create approximately 10,000 jobs and 2,000 unionized construction jobs, generate more than $500 million in sales and property taxes and develop charitable partnerships worth $20 million.

Walmart's plans in the city include the following projects:

  • Supercenter in Pullman at 111th St. and South Doty Ave. (spring 2013)

  • Supercenter in West Chatham at 83rd St. and Stewart Ave. (spring 2012)

  • Walmart Market in the West Loop at West Monroe St. and South Jefferson St. (fall 2011)

  • Walmart Market in West Englewood at West 76th St. and South Ashland Ave. (spring 2012)

  • Walmart Market in Lake View at Broadway and Surf (winter 2012)

  • Walmart Express in West Englewood at South Western Ave. and West 71st St. (winter 2012)

  • Walmart Express in West Chatham at 83rd St. and Stewart Ave. (summer 2011)

  • Walmart Express in River North at Franklin and Chicago Avenues (fall 2011)

  • Walmart Express in Wrigleyville at Broadway and Addison (winter 2011)

Walmart's expansion in Chicago, along with the support of the Obamas, could prove to be the boost the company needs to gain entry into previously closed off urban markets.