Walmart zoning vote for Pullman Park development delayed

Ald. Anthony Beale

The re-zoning vote expected to be cast Wednesday by Chicago’s City Council zoning committee on whether or not the city will get its second Walmart has been rescheduled for next month. Talks have been underway this week among the retail giant,  several aldermen and union representatives from the Chicago Federation of Labor and the United Food about the proposed Pullman Park development that Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) wants Walmart to anchor. While Walmart was ready for the zoning committee to vote, however, union officials wanted more time to see how the discussions progressed before a vote is rendered. The large proposed project along the Bishop Ford Expressway at 111th Street calls for two big box retailers, new affordable homes, a hotel, a school and other smaller businesses. Walmart has been trying to build more stores in Chicago, but the “big box” ordinance knocked the steam out of the plan. The union-backed measure required all businesses with more than $1 billion in annual sales and stores with more than 90,000-square-feet to pay a minimum wage of at least $11 per hour, $13 per hour with benefits. Mayor Richard M. Daley vetoed the ordinance. Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th) recently introduced a revised “big box” ordinance calling for big retailers who receive more than $250,000 in government subsidies, including Tax Increment Financing, to pay a living wage of at least $11.03 per hour. Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo said the store’s national average hourly wage is more than Chicago’s labor unions want, and the average hourly wage for the West Side store, the city’s only Walmart, is $11.77 for full-time workers. The re-zoning matter is expected to be raised again June 3. Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender

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