Concerns rise as 3 KFC restaurants close doors in South Side Chicago neighborhoods

The lights have abruptly shut off at three fast-food locations on Chicago's South Side – leaving residents concerned over lost jobs and the future of those sites.

All three shuttered KFC restaurants are owned by the same franchisee. One of them is located in Chatham, where it is not the first business to close in recent weeks.

"A closed business is not only a sore eye, but it’s a gateway for violence because when you see abandonment, it looks as if there is no love, no hope in the community," said Ald. William Hall (6th Ward).

Ald. Hall says he, too, was disappointed to learn the news of KFC’s departure at three locations.
"It’s something we’re seeing across the city, but nevertheless, neighborhoods, it hits differently," said Hall.

Colonel Sanders is saying ‘goodbye’ to locations at 83rd Street and King Drive in Chatham, 75th Street and Lafayette in Greater Grand Crossing, and 35th Street and Calumet Avenue in Bronzeville.

The Chatham location has been undergoing renovations for months – but is now boarded up.

"I’d say about six, seven months, stop and go, more time stopping than going," said Hall. "There was no communication, I saw what the residents saw, disappointed just the same way they are."

In addition to the Chatham location, the Greater Grand Crossing location is also located in Hall’s ward. He tells FOX 32 Chicago this will impact jobs and will leave more corners empty.

"Any job lost is a life lost in my opinion, because everyone deserves the opportunity to make an honest and clean living," said Hall.

This comes less than one month after Cinema Chatham, a local movie theater, shut down. It came as a surprise to community members.

The CEO of its parent company "Emagine Entertainment" stated that the theater’s location on 87th Street was no longer economically viable.

Hall is now working to replace – and revitalize – those vacant sites, including the KFC on King Drive, which he says has been standing for more than three decades.

"It is an opportunity to reimagine that corner, KFC has been there since I was a child. It’s disappointing to see a staple of over 35 years close," said Hall. "We’re going to look to the future, even if it means tearing down that KFC and building a new business, but we are not going to stop until that vacancy is filled."

A spokesperson with KFC released the following statement to FOX 32 Chicago on Tuesday:

"One of our franchisees closed these restaurants as a normal course of business. While this is always a difficult decision, we appreciate the patronage of our loyal guests. We look forward to continue serving our customers at the other KFCs located in the area."

Meanwhile, Hall is hosting a job fair this Thursday with nearby businesses at Hamilton Park beginning at 9 a.m. All are welcome to attend, and some positions may be filled on the spot.