Originally posted on U.S.:
Seven miles south of Chicago’s bustling downtown area is the neighborhood of Englewood, a community known for vacant buildings, stretches of empty lots and crime.
The residents of Englewood, almost 1 out of 4 of whom is out of a job, heard a surprising announcement last month: Whole Foods is coming, planning to bring its aisles of heirloom tomatoes and costly organic cheer, by 2016. Although Whole Foods has built in gentrifying neighborhoods, betting on an 18,000-sq.-ft. store in Englewood marks its biggest gamble yet.
The famously upmarket chain’s move into Englewood isn’t without precedent. Whole Foods opened a store in Detroit’s transforming Midtown neighborhood, where the company received $4.2 million in tax credits. In 2011, Whole Foods opened a store in Boston’s Jamaica Plain, drawing complaints from some neighbors. But Midtown’s Wayne State University and medical and art centers broadened the grocery’s professional clientele, while Jamaica Plain had already seen rising real estate sales and obvious signs of gentrification before…
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