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Construction on West Side store resumes after protests

Updated: November 6, 2012 6:33AM

Construction on a West Side grocery store resumed Thursday, three weeks after the work was halted because protesters showed up at the site and threatened workers.

Pete’s Fresh Market, a South Side-based chain, is building the store and other retail space at the southeast corner of Madison and Western.

Protesters descended on the site in mid-September. They wanted more blacks hired for the work but several people said the confrontation became more like a shakedown.

The lawyer for Pete’s, Endy Zemenides, said security at the site has been improved. In addition, he said Pete’s emphasized its commitment to minority hiring, both in construction and for jobs at the store, at a community meeting Wednesday night.

“Everything we have pledged, we have pledged from the beginning,” Zemenides said.

He said three out of four subcontractors handling excavation are minority-owned firms and that the project’s steel is being purchased from a minority-owned company.

The $18 million development is scheduled to be finished in 12 to 14 months, Zemenides said.

City officials and local residents months ago hailed the project as a victory for the neighborhood, which is labeled a “food desert” because it lacks full-service grocery stores.

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