Ninth Ward alderman Anthony Beale said Thursday that a Wal-Mart Supercenter will open at 111th and I-94 by 2008. This shows that the company is going through with its plans to expand into what have been called economically distressed (read: black) areas. Beale voted for the big-box living-wage ordinance Wal-Mart, Target, and other giant retailers opposed so vehemently that they threatened to abandon the Chicago market if it passed. Several of the aldermen who ended up voting against the ordinance--Howard Brookins Jr., Shirley Coleman, Carrie Austin, Helen Shiller--said they had to protect planned or potential big-box projects in their wards. Mayor Daley embraced this position when he vetoed the bill.
But Beale believes the big boxes were coming to Chicago regardless. “That was my position the whole time--I thought they were bluffing,” he said. “They had nowhere else to go but the black community.”