A former Chatham industrial site that was supposed to house Chicago’s second Wal-Mart — and first Super-center that sells groceries — has been put up for sale by a developer whose hands were tied by City Hall.
Two months ago, Planning and Development Commissioner Arnold Randall rejected Archon Development’s request for administrative approval to build a 150,000-square-foot Wal-Mart at 83rd and Stewart.
Randall’s decision left Archon with only three choices: Put the property up for sale; file a lawsuit on grounds that the city’s decision discriminates against Wal-Mart or push for a City Council replay of the political donnybrook that gave birth to the vetoed big-box minimum wage ordinance.
On April 17, Wal-Mart and Archon met privately with Randall. They were told that Mayor Daley was determined to avoid another “bloody battle” with organized labor that might disrupt the long-term labor peace carefully crafted to bolster Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, sources said.
As a result, Archon chose the political path of least resistance — by putting up a “For Sale” sign.
“We are actively pursuing sites in the suburban communities to serve our customer base” in Chicago, said Roderick Scott, Wal-Mart’s regional vice president for community affairs.
Scott noted that Chicagoans spent $500 million last year in Wal-Mart stores that ring the city, $80 million of it from the 21st Ward, where the Supercenter would have been.
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