Englewood Square celebrates one-year anniversary

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ENGLEWOOD SQUARE CELEBRATES first year–Leon Walker, DL3 Realty managing partner and developer of Englewood Square, hosted a one-year anniversary celebration for the shopping center located at 63rd and Halsted streets. Mayor Rahm Emanuel was in attendance with other dignitaries, recording artist Gene “The Duke of Earl” Chandler, and internationally-renowned visual artist Samuel Akainyah, who unveiled a new painting. PNC Bank, which is soon to open at Englewood Square, sponsored awards presented for excellence in community service and entrepreneurship. Celebrating, left to right, are: Thurman “Tony” Smith, PNC Bank; Derrick Young, CBS2 Chicago; Asiaha Butler, president of R.A.G.E. (Residents Association of Greater Englewood); Chrishon Lampley of Love Cork Screw; Jordan Buckner of Tea Squares; 16th ward Ald. Toni Foulkes (in front); Walker (in back); Iris Patterson of Iris Botanicals; and Edward and Jennifer Alexander of Island Indulgences.

It’s one of Chicago’s greatest success stories. Englewood Square celebrated its one-year anniversary recently and Leon Walker, managing partner of DL3 Realty and the shopping center’s developer, marked the milestone at a press conference with an update on the project’s impact.

“Thanks to the City of Chicago and the commitment by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Englewood Square is a miracle on 63rd and Halsted Streets,” said Walker.

“Englewood Square is not just a place for neighbors to shop but a place that strengthens a community,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “With public and private investments, we are ensuring Englewood residents have high-quality options for food and services that spur greater development and create lasting prosperity.”

The historic site, once known as Chicago’s busiest commerce center outside of the Loop, sits on 5.5 acres of land and features 50,000 square feet of retail space.

Its opening attracted major business to the community, including Whole Foods, Starbucks, Chipotle, Villa Sports and Oak Street Health. PNC Bank opens this fall.

As a part of the program, PNC Bank honored Asiaha Butler, president of R.A.G.E. (Residents Association of Greater Englewood), and entrepreneurs Edward and Jennifer Alexander of Island Indulgences, Jordan Buckner of Tea Squares, Iris Patterson of Iris Botanicals, and Chrishon Lampley of Love Cork Screw.

Internationally-renowned artist Samuel Akainyah unveiled his first painting in 10 years, entitled “The Art of Enterprise,” featuring Chicago Founder Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, former Mayor Harold Washington and President Barack Obama. Proceeds from the sale of lithographs and posters of the painting will support Teamwork Englewood’s Quality of Life Business Plan Competition which promotes enterprise in Englewood.

Walker gave thanks to Englewood Square tenants for their impact on what he calls The Double Bottom Line – profits as well as people.

In addition to the dozens of construction jobs created to develop Englewood Square, Walker reported that its tenants created more than 200 jobs, mostly for Englewood residents, and supported more than 50 local businesses and entrepreneurs.

Starbucks Englewood created 20 new jobs for residents while serving as a place for community building and dialog. The store offers a unique in-store job skills training program for local youth in partnership with Teamwork Englewood, and has invested in the growth of local women and minority-owned businesses, like Laine’s Bake Shop.

Chipotle has hired 73 residents of Englewood, given $3,700 to local nonprofits and more than $6,000 in food donations, supporting the Bud Biliken Parade, an anti-women’s violence initiative, prom dresses for Englewood students, and has partnered with Team Englewood and Englewood Community Academy High School on student programs.

Whole Foods Market Englewood has brought access to more fresh foods and healthy eating education for Englewood residents. The company also has supported Englewood suppliers, such as Tea Squares, Imani’s Original Bean Pies and Justice of the Pies, which have expanded into other Whole Foods in the Chicago area.

Oak Street Health’s Englewood center employs 30 Chicagoans. The organization reports that local patients receive free travel to and from the center, where they enjoy a full slate of health-oriented programming five days a week in addition to receiving medical care. Patients at the Englewood facility have doctor visits that are twice as long as the national average.

The three square miles that comprise Chicago’s Englewood community were annexed to the city of Chicago in 1889.  For years, 63rd and Halsted was the community’s centerpiece: a well-known commercial center, with three major department stores and hundreds of smaller businesses, second only to Chicago’s loop in both popularity and profitability.

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