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CHICAGO -- In an effort to entice grocers to build stores in inner-city neighborhoods, city officials here said they are willing to offer tax incentives and job-training to grease the skids.
Chicago city officials gathered at the first Chicago Grocery Expo to brainstorm with grocery chains in an effort to entice developers to build grocery stores in underserved low-income communities. A study from a non-profit research group last year concluded that many residents on the city's South Side have much easier access to liquor stores and fast-food restaurants than grocery chains and pharmacies.
City planners highlighted 50 grocery store-friendly sites throughout Chicago that they hope will attract stimulate interest among retailers, including a 65,000-square-foot, city-owned site at the northwest corner of 63rd and Halsted, next to the new Kennedy-King College, and a 20,000-square-foot, privately owned parcel at the southwest corner of Roosevelt and Ogden near the Illinois Medical District.
Chicago city officials are also looking for a retailer to join Target and Home Depot in a 445,000-square-foot shopping center being built at 119th and I-57. The city's planning department's Fran Spencer, a proponent of the inner-city supermarket initiative, said retailers must make creative decisions such as stacking parking and building on smaller acreage to serve markets that desperately need their goods.