AVONDALE — While the south edge of Avondale is no longer a food desert, it was badly in need of new retail options, officials said Wednesday.
And as Mayor Rahm Emanuel and developers broke ground on a new shopping center, some of that need will soon be fulfilled.
As part of the ongoing redevelopment of the former Marshall Field's warehouse, 4000 W. Diversey Ave., Retail at The Fields will open across the street in the fall with a Ross Dress for Less anchor and several other tenants.
The 50,000-square-foot development, designed by OKW Architects, will be housed on a parking lot formerly used by the Marshall Field's warehouse facility at Diversey Avenue and Pulaski Road.
"Just a couple years ago, this lot [and] that building were empty," Emanuel said. "We're now seeing investments in our neighborhoods that are thriving, creating the opportunity for developers to have the confidence to do something in an area that used to be just empty, sitting idle."
Officials, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, signed a beam that will become part of the Retail at The Field's shopping center. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]
Last year, Emanuel also presided over the grand opening of a Cermak Fresh Market grocery store within the $60 million mixed-use rehabilitation. Newly Weds Foods and Studio 41 were also among the first tenants of The Fields complex.
The shopping center has space for three tenants to join Ross Dress for Less, including two standalone structures facing Diversey Avenue that are 8,812 and 4,000 square feet. It will also have 162 parking spaces.
Site plans for Retail at The Fields include space for four tenants, anchored by a Ross Dress for Less store. [Provided/OKW Architects]
A final tenant will join the Ross store within the main 37,565-square-foot building set back along West Parker Avenue on the south end of the lot.
In all, retail at The Fields is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs, including the 175 added with Cermak Fresh Market. The complex will also include living and working space, industrial warehouse space, offices and parking.
"This is a very special day for the 31st Ward," said Ald. Milly Santiago. "This day means progress, prosperity and economic development that transforms the neighborhoods in our city."
The project was approved in 2014, years after Macy's abandoned the six-story building following its Marshall Field's takeover in 2005. It was originally an Olson Rug factory.
Officials break ground at the Retail at The Fields shopping center Wednesday. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]
“The Marshall Field’s warehouse site was a great economic engine of Chicago’s past, but working together with the community, we are reinventing it to be an even better economic anchor of Avondale’s future,” Emanuel said in March 2015.
Called the Fields, the development is a project of 4K Diversey Partners LLC, which reportedly bought the 21-acre campus earlier this year for $10 million.
In a joint venture, Clark Street Real Estate will oversee the Retail at The Fields shopping center. Peter Eisenberg, founder of the company, said it is already looking into other properties in the Logan Square, Hermosa and Avondale neighborhoods for further development.
Also attending the groundbreaking, state Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-Belmont Cragin) credited Santiago with nurturing small businesses in the neighborhood and pledged his support in furthering development.
"In our community, we don't have a lot of development," Arroyo said. "This is a start, and I've seen a lot of new life coming up in the 31st Ward."
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