jewel file photo

Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel performed a ceremonial ribbon-cutting during last year's grand opening of the new Jewel-Osco grocery store at 61st and Cottage Grove. DL3 Managing Partner Leon Walker is at the far right of the photo. 

DL3 Realty, the developer of the Woodlawn Jewel-Osco, has won an award for the grocery store, which opened last spring. 

The supermarket at the corner of 61st Street and Cottage Grove won a Chicago Neighborhood Development Award (CNDA) as best for-profit neighborhood real estate project from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a community development organization. Earlier this year, the University of Chicago bought the property for $20 million. A spokesperson told Crain’s Chicago the purchase was made in order to ensure the land remained “locally controlled.” 

“We are incredibly honored and feel incredibly encouraged by the recognition,” Leon Walker, managing partner at DL3, told the Herald. “This is more than just a normal project — we put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it.” 

“There are over 300 associates working with the store … and 80% are from the greater Woodlawn area. That is a tremendous impact locally,” he continued. “There has been disproportionate disinvestment for a number of years …. The grocery store represents a great opportunity for someone to get started in the business world.” 

DL3 has won recognition from the CDNAs before: once in 2007 for the Roseland Medical Center, and again in 2016 for Englewood Square, the retail development at 63rd and Halsted Streets that includes a Whole Foods. 

Walker and DL3 are active in the area further south, too, redeveloping the former Cosmo Beauty Store on the corner of 63rd and Cottage Grove into a health exchange. The company, in partnership with Greenlining Realty, another community developer, also has plans to demolish and rebuild the Washington Park Bank Building on the same intersection’s southwest corner, turning it into mixed-use office and retail space. 

Walker said the purchase of the building from the Cook County Land Bank has not yet been finalized. He also promised more community engagement — some preservation activists and Woodlawn residents have criticized the proposed demolition of the historic bank building.


Christian Belanger graduated from the University of Chicago in 2017. He has previously written for South Side Weekly, Chicago magazine and the Chicago Reader.

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