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Mayor Richard M. Daley today asked the City Council to approve Chicago’s third Walmart store, which would be built at 83rd St. and S. Stewart Av. in the Chatham neighborhood.
“It’s critical that we move ahead with this third store now and with more stores in the future,” Daley said in a news conference held at Prosser Career Academy High School, 2148 N. Long Av., in the Austin neighborhood, where the City’s first Walmart, located at 4650 W. North Av., opened in 2006.
“Remember, Walmart’s long-range plans for Chicago stores would also create thousands of temporary construction jobs and generate $500 million in additional tax revenues for the city,” he said.
Daley said his administration has the authority to approve the third Walmart without a vote of the Council.
“But we are moving forward this way because I want to make it clear to everyone that Chicago welcomes new jobs, opportunity and revenue in our city from businesses large and small, including the jobs and opportunity that Walmart provides.
“And that means asking the City Council to express its support for the new Walmart store,” the Mayor said.
The Finance Committee will consider the proposal Friday and Daley said he hopes the full Council will approve it at its meeting July 28.
Daley said the issue of whether Walmart should be allowed to build or open new stores in the city was debated for a long time and in the end, the company and
Chicago’s labor unions came together and on June 30 the Council approved construction of a Walmart store in the Pullman neighborhood.
As a result of that agreement, Daley said:
- Chicago's workers will be paid good wages from the beginning of their employment at Walmart -- and on an ongoing basis. Daley said the average hourly wage of associates at the North Avenue store is $11.77.
- Chicago residents will have another place to buy the items – including groceries -- that people need every day.
- And Walmart will contribute to the city's charities and other neighborhood improvements.
“That vote set the stage for a strong, long-term relationship with Walmart in neighborhoods across Chicago. Over the long-term, it means thousands of desperately needed new jobs for Chicago's neighborhoods and workers,” he said.
Daley said the Austin store is having the positive, ripple effect on the economy and on the Austin neighborhood that he believed it would have.
Tomorrow, Walmart and Alderman Emma Mitts (37th) are sponsoring a hiring resource fair at Prosser for people interested in applying for jobs at the North Avenue store, which is expanding in September to a 24-hour operation.
The Mayor pointed out that:
- There were 17,000 applicants for about 450 jobs when the Austin store opened.
- 80 percent of the associates are from the West Side and the majority of associates are full-time employees.
- The City has collected more than $4 million in sales tax revenue from the store since it opened.
“It’s a big success and it’s stimulating the business environment. In the long run, these stores can help us build a better future for neighborhoods and working families in Chicago,” he said.
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