NEAR NORTH SIDE — Lawmakers are calling a new Target store an "anchor" of the community in the wake of the demolition of the former Cabrini-Green high-rises several blocks away.
The three-story Target at 1200 N. Larabee St. opened to the public Tuesday night with Ald. Walter Burnett, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Gov. Pat Quinn, Chicago Housing Authority CEO Charles Woodyard and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White on hand for the inaugural ribbon cutting.
Emanuel, Burnett and Woodyard lauded the store opening as a job creator and anchor in the Near North Side community once known for the notorious Cabrini-Green public housing complex, which included 15,000 residents at its peak.
After talks with the Chicago Housing Authority regarding displaced Cabrini-Green residents, some of whom "have lived on this property for three or four generations," Burnett said lawmakers brought the store to the community.
Of the 200 jobs the city said will be created through the new Target, 75 will be held by former Cabrini-Green residents and their families, 65 of whom are already working at the store, he said.
According to Emanuel and Burnett, the new Target and other "Cabrini-Green neighborhood" amenities such as the ongoing construction of the 25,000-square-foot Jesse White Community Center is a sign to private companies that they can safely invest in the area.
"Private investors are saying, 'We have to hitch over to that wagon because it's on the move,' " Emanuel told a crowd of about 100 shoppers.
Likewise, Woodyard, who was announced by Emanuel as CHA CEO in 2011, praised Target as an asset to the community.
"When we talk about transformation, this is what we talk about," Woodyard said, referencing the CHA's 13-year-old public housing Plan for Transformation. "Things are happening here, but every community needs its anchor — this Target story is the anchor I'm talking about."
According to Quinn, students and "families that live paycheck to paycheck" in the area will also benefit from local job creation that can help them "get into the middle class and stay in the middle class."
One of those students, according to her mother Darinda Scott, is Gisele Scott, a 22-year-old Loyola student who was first in a row of Target employees cheering guests as they entered the store.
The opening is great for Scott's daughter, who recently moved into the neighborhood will now be able to walk to work, Scott said, pausing to inform her son Michael that he just met and posed for a picture with the mayor.
"I just got a picture with the mayor?" the 10-year-old asked.