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Another Step In Pullman's Revival Heralded As Potbelly Opens

By Andrea V. Watson | October 24, 2017 5:49am | Updated on October 27, 2017 11:35am
 Mayor Rahm Emanuel celebrates the grand opening of Pullman's new Potbelly Sandwich Shop.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel celebrates the grand opening of Pullman's new Potbelly Sandwich Shop.
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PULLMAN — Mayor Rahm Emanuel and 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale joined the community in celebrating the grand opening of Pullman's new Potbelly Sandwich Shop and retail center Monday.

“The Gateway Retail Center is the latest step in the education, jobs and retail renaissance we are seeing in the Pullman community,” Emanuel said. “By investing in our neighborhoods we are creating opportunities for our residents to live, work, and play, and ensuring Chicago is the best place in America to call home.”

The Potbelly Sandwich Shop at 756 E. 111th St. is the first retailer to open in the new 10,000-square-foot Gateway Retail Center at 111th Street, just west of Doty Avenue, bringing much-needed new amenities and dining options to the community, officials said.

It will be open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The shop will employ a staff of 20. Job seekers can apply online or in the store.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel meets employees at the new Potbelly in Pullman. [Provided]

Laine’s Bake Shop and Star Cleaners both are expected to move into the center and open by the end of this year. Officials are calling Gateway Retail Center the gateway to the historic national monument site and a valuable amenity for Pullman and Roseland communities.

The retail location will serve the 300,000 visitors per year expected to visit the historic site, officials said.

“This is a community with unparalleled roads, rail infrastructure, abundant land and close proximity to the Loop complemented by venerable housing, historic buildings and now many of the amenities necessary to make it a destination for where more people will continue to go to live, work and to visit,” Beale said.  

The financing for the new Gateway Retail Center comes from U.S. Bank, Northern Trust, Benefit Chicago, City of Chicago, Chase, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, National Community Investment Fund and the Chicago Community Loan Fund.
“These are exciting days for Pullman,” said David Doig, president of Chicago Neighborhoods Initiative.  “Thanks to great leadership from Mayor Emanuel, the tireless work on behalf of the community by Ald. Beale and the talent and support of our community partners, the City of Chicago, Potbelly, local businesses and residents, Pullman is the ultimate comeback community.”

The Gateway Retail Center, anchored by the new Potbelly restaurant is just the latest addition to Pullman’s robust retail revival. It joins the community's Walmart, Planet Fitness and Ross Dress for Less, which opened in nearby Pullman Park, the former site of Ryerson Steel in 2015.

Like Pullman Park, Gateway Retail Center was master-developed by the Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives which has generated more than $250 million in new investment and created more than 1,100 new jobs in less than four years, according to officials.

Besides the new retail, several manufacturers recently haved moved to Pullman, including Method Products and Gotham Greens. There are other projects in the works, including the 50-plus acre industrial park, Pullman Crossings; a 150,000-square-foot Whole Foods distribution center, bringing 150 new jobs; and a 135,000-square-foot year-round, climate-controlled recreation center.