Retail N Illinois

The renewal of Chicago's Pullman neighborhood continues with opening of new food hall

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A long-standing desire of the community was met yesterday when Pullman and Roseland residents joined 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale and three entrepreneurs to cut the ribbon on One Eleven Food Hall, the first food hall on Chicago’s South Side. The opening represents another step in the renewal of the historic Pullman community.

The celebration focused on the three new restaurants in the food hall: Laine’s Bake Shop, Exquisite Catering and Events and Majani Soulful Vegan Cuisine. The food hall, located in the 111th Street Gateway Retail Center at 756 East 111th Street, is the latest development to result from a partnership between the city of Chicago and the Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI), a nonprofit community development organization.

“The One Eleven Food Hall is an innovative and exciting way to address the community’s need for convenient, quality dining and snack choices,” said Ciere Boatright, CNI vice president, real estate and inclusion. “It will be a place where people can come in, choose from a variety of different food options and socialize.”

Laine’s Bake Shop, Majani Soulful Vegan Cuisine and Exquisite Catering and Events will offer everything from breakfast and baked goods to full-course dinners in a casual restaurant setting. James Gray, a Pullman resident and proprietor of Calibrate Coaching, a hospitality consulting firm that teamed with CNI to help bring the entrepreneurs to the One Eleven Food Hall, will also offer cooking classes, pop-up shops and availability for private event rentals as well as manage the Food Hall.

As developer, CNI put together the financing for the One Eleven Food Hall from a number of public and private sources. To help CNI attract the restaurants to the location, CNI Micro Finance Group, a subsidiary of CNI that provides loans usually unavailable from traditional lenders to growing small businesses, deployed microloans funded by JPMorgan Chase to Exquisite and Majani. The microloans were used by the entrepreneurs to purchase equipment and for working capital that were layered on top of New Markets Tax Credits of $4.5 million from the National Community Investment Fund and U.S. Bank and a $500,000 Tax Increment Financing from the City of Chicago, a combination that also allowed CNI to offer below market rate rents to all three restaurants.

“This opening is the latest example of the revitalization taking place in Pullman and its one that will make the neighborhood a destination where more people will be choosing to go to live and work,” said Alderman Beale. “I am proud to advocate for tax incentives like New Market Tax Credits and support TIF projects that helped make today’s grand opening possible and bring investments for new developments that strengthen our community and improve people’s lives,” added Alderman Beale.”

The South Side’s first new food hall is another milestone in the Pullman neighborhood’s renaissance. Since investing $350 million for new projects over the last several years, including the new Pullman Community Center, Ryan Crossings 450,000 square foot industrial park, a Whole Foods distribution center, construction of a second Gotham Greens greenhouse and new administration building, a new Blue Cross Blue Shield wellness center, Pullman Park, a commercial center anchored by a Walmart Supercenter and more, 1,300 new jobs have been created, violent crime has dropped 34 percent and its population and property values have increased according to a recent study by the Metropolitan Planning Council. It has made Pullman one of the fastest growing employment areas in all of Chicago.

Besides serving the Pullman and Roseland community and the expected 300,000 annual visitors a year to the National Monument site, One Eleven Food Hall will provide the restauranteurs with opportunities to test new offerings and build their brands as they grow.