by Michael R. Allen
The Mayor’s office is talking with a pharmaceutical company about building a plant on the site of the Pruitt-Igoe housing projects.
First question: How many full-time jobs with benefits would the plant create? The article states that the plant might create up to 850 jobs, but we all know how big companies use part-time waged labor positions to keep profits high and workers from having a decent life. If these would be 850 honest-to-goodness real jobs, that would be great for the north side.
Second question: Can we please build the plant in a way that allows the street grid to be re-established and allows for other uses along Jefferson and Cass? I would prefer mixed use of the site, but I don’t necessarily think that it has to include residential components — there is ample space for that all over the near north side. Using the Pruitt-Igoe site for retail, office tenants and manufacturing would be a great for the near north side. But the site should not remain an inaccessible super-block — that’s kind of the historical problem with the site. It should be dense, urban and connected no matter what use is found. A factory may need a larger space, but it could still be build up rather than out and leave space for other new construction on the site.