PULLMAN — Seeking to boost investment in the Pullman neighborhood and increase its historical value, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the start of the second phase of a $135 million development that has already brought a Walmart to the area.
Emanuel said the $45 million project will create 600 jobs and bring a retail complex anchored by a Walmart between 103rd and 111th streets along the Bishop Ford Freeway on the former site of a steel mill.
The project is part of Emanuel's $2.9 billion plan annouced this week to further develop seven "opportunity areas" across the city: Bronzeville, Englewood, Little Village, Pullman, Uptown, Rogers Park, and the Eisenhower Corridor.
Emanuel's press conference Saturday came nearly four months after phase two of the project was approved. Like the Pullman Park project highlighted in Emanuel's plan, many developments have been in the works for some time.
But Emanuel said the point of placing his focus on these seven "opportunity areas" is to ensure development in these areas happens now. He said public investments, like the $11.4 million dollars in TIF funds going towards the second phase of the Pullman Park project, match and help accelerate private investments in the area.
"When you have the commercial investment now, not 10 years from now, not seven years from now, but now, we're also making the investment," Emanuel said. "We're accentuating and excelerating those investments."
For the second phase of the Pullman Park project, Emanuel said the city will resurface roads and fix sewer lines. The sewer lines are part of the city plan to place over 900 miles of water lines in the city over the next 10 years, but Emanuel said since Pullman has been targeted as an opportunity area, that work will be done now.
In addition to completing the Pullman Park site, Emanuel touched on his support to push for the neighborhood's designation as a National Historical Park, which he said would lead to more money coming to the area in the form of tourism.
There is no transportation component highlighted in the city's development plan for Pullman. When asked if there would be any investment made in transportation in Pullman, Emanuel was vague.
"There is some other work being done on the CTA side," Emanuel said. "But there's no doubt there's other pieces of this that deal with other agencies that are not directly under control of the city."
Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) joined Emanuel Saturday. Beale said he was excited about the project and the jobs it would bring to the Pullman neighborhood.
Beale said the neighborhood has seen serious progress. He said developments like the Walmart have provided residents a place to get fresh produce, something that was sorely needed in the neighborhood which was labeled a food desert by Emanuel's office at the beginning of his term.
"We know it's still cold outside," Beale said. "But the Ninth Ward is the hottest ward in the city of Chicago."