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Will the Englewood Whole Foods Change the Neighborhood?

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Construction booms come and go in Chicago, but new investments are looking to radically and perhaps permanently transform some of Chicago's most economically challenged neighborhoods. Development of a Whole Foods in Englewood at 63rd Street and Halsted Street, a "whole paycheck" in the midst of a food desert, has been described as both a "socio-economic experiment" and "one part of a solid strategy for economic growth and job creation." What's clear is that the symbolic and transformative power invested in this store, set to open in 2016 and anchor a $10 million retail complex, could be a game changer.

In an extensive piece about the development in the Washington Post, reporter Emily Badger breaks down how the company is banking on the restorative nature of the store, and how it might restore a region that once held serious economic clout. While today's numbers aren't rosy — a third of the households live below the poverty line, 25 percent of adults are unemployed, crime rates are among the city's highest — the company can point to a somewhat similar success in Midtown Detroit a few years ago. The chain, which is busy in other Chicago neighborhoods, needs to find ways to work in a variety of neighborhoods to meet their expansion targets, and with proper outreach, it may be an important catalyst.
Patrick Sisson
·Why Whole Foods is moving into one of the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago [Washington Post]
·Englewood Whole Foods store represents bet by Emanuel, company [Chicago Tribune]
·Previous Englewood coverage [Curbed Chicago]