"It is a changed community already," says James Matanky, a real estate broker and President of Matanky Real Estate Group, which is wooing retail tenants such as Whole Foods to Englewood as part of a much-discussed development set to open in spring of 2016. When asked about issues of gentrification this development introduces, he pointed to support from the neighborhood, alderman, students at Kennedy-King College college and the $10 million city investment in the 13 acre property as evidence that others see this as a economic catalyst. His role bringing in big name like Whole Foods helps embolden other potential tenants, he says, and helps bring more needed goods and services into the neighborhood. "We as brokers and developers need to show them they won't be the only one, and that the investment will bring profit," he says.
While other retailer such as Walgreens and Aldi were trailblazers in the area, with Whole Foods going out on a limb, Matanky says, it shows the potential of this neighborhood to change and look very different than it does now. Shops around 63rd can again be the hub the area was historically known to be.
Matanky's group focuses on retail development in underserved communities, with projects such as Kedzie Plaza, at 800 North Kedzie Avenue in Humboldt Park. They're not the developer on th Englewood project — that would be DL3. In this case, they're playing the role of headhunter. Letters of intent have been signed by other "good name" clients, but he can't reveal them until leases are signed.
·Will the Englewoods Whole Foods Change the Neighborhood? [Curbed Chicago]
·Previous Englewood coverage [Curbed Chicago]