In March 2023, CDF provided $5.5 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation to Yellow Banana to fund the acquisition and renovation of two grocery store sites in food deserts on Chicago’s South Side, including the reopening of a store in Auburn Gresham that had been shuttered. Founded in 2021, Yellow Banana is a minority-owned retail grocery platform operating 38 stores across the Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Jacksonville, and Dallas metropolitan areas, including 8 Save A Lot locations in the Chicago metropolitan area. The two project sites are located at 7908 S. Halsted and 10700 S. Halsted in the Auburn Gresham and Morgan Park community areas, respectively.
Both locations will be full-service grocery retailers and include expanded produce sections, meat counters, dairy sections, and refrigerated, frozen, dry, and general merchandise grocery offerings. The project will increase access to affordable, high-quality, and healthy groceries for nearly 51,000 low-income community residents, including approximately 30,500 Food Desert residents within a one-mile radius of either store. The stores will also feature locally produced goods where available. The project is projected to support 16 FTE permanent jobs across the two locations. All positions are accessible without a high school diploma and Yellow Banana intends to maximize its hiring from the Auburn Gresham and Morgan Park communities.
The City of Chicago awarded Yellow Banana with a $13.5 million Community Development Grant, which supported the renovation of these two stores as well as four other locations on Chicago’s South and West Sides. In coordination with CDF’s financing, Southside Community Optimal Redevelopment Enterprise provided $1.4 million in federal NMTC allocation for the Morgan Park store, and NMTC Equity was provided by US Bank.