Back on the South Side, the husk of the former pharmacy at 87th Street and Ashland Avenue in Gresham is an almost eerie sight at the relatively busy intersection — but it isn’t rare. It is the second of three Walgreens stores to close in the area recently. The one at 95th and King Drive closed a month earlier in June; another at 95th and Halsted Street closed in August. It’s now a beauty supply store.
“Look at the real estate that this is taking up,” said Melvin Thompson, executive director of the Endeleo Institute, gesturing to the vacant storefront at 87th and Ashland. His organization, which is part of Trinity United Church of Christ in neighboring Washington Heights, works to revitalize the 95th Street corridor, with a focus on wellness, education and homeownership.
“Look at that corner,” he continued. “When a store is abandoned, it devastates the corner. There’s nothing now, absolutely nothing.”