Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Third Wal-Mart could be on the fast track in Chatham

Wal-Mart cleared another hurdle Friday in its bid to open stores throughout Chicago, winning approval from the City Council Finance Committee to build a location in the Chatham neighborhood. If the plan for a store at the intersection of 83rd Street and Stewart Avenue passes the full City Council today, it will mark the second Wal-Mart given the green light to open within city limits in less than a month, after six years that saw none approved.

Some committee members said Friday they are troubled by company officials' reluctance to publicly commit to paying at least $8.75 per hour at its Chicago stores, a key concession that helped a proposal for a Wal-Mart in the Pullman neighborhood clear the council June 30 by a 50-0 vote.

But in the end, only Ald. Joe Moore, 49th, voted against the Chatham store.

Ald. Howard Brookins, 21st, said he's confident the full City Council will approve the plan, unless aldermen opposed to it use a parliamentary procedure that would stall the vote until September's meeting.

Moore said he wants more concrete assurances Wal-Mart will honor its wage pledge, and to find out where else in Chicago the company wants to build the more than 20 stores company officials have said they would like to open. Moore said Friday he's undecided on whether to seek to defer the vote, a move that would require at least one other alderman to join him.

Because the Chatham location needs less infrastructure work, the Wal-Mart there would likely open before the one in Pullman.