CCAC eNews
April 2019
CCAC eNews is the monthly newsletter of the Chicago Central Area Committee. For more information about the CCAC or to inquire about membership, please contact Kelly O'Brien at (312) 602-5148 or
Download the 2019 Meeting Calendar (PDF)!
The CCAC 2019 Meeting Calendar is ready to download in PDF format. The Calendar lists this year's dates and locations for our popular luncheon speaker series, hosted each month by a different CCAC member organization.
(NOTE: Locations subject to change--see website for newest calendar. Meetings open to paid members and guests, only.)

Download the CCAC 2019 Meeting Calendar (PDF)
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CCAC Learns from Arcadis Global Cities Director about Chicago's Sustainability Ranking 
CCAC would like to thank LeeAnn Tomas-Foster, City Executive, and John Batten, Global Cities Director, of Arcadis, for an informative presentation during CCAC’s April meeting reviewing the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index focusing on how Chicago compares to 100 other global cities. Batten started his presentation by commenting that the purpose of this study aligns very well with the mission of CCAC, which is to help cities sharpen their competitive edge and improve the quality of life of its citizens through sustainability.   
From L to R:  Kelly O'Brien, Executive Director, CCAC; John Batten, Global Cities Director, Arcadis; LeeAnn Tomas-Foster, City Executive, Arcadis
Overall, Chicago is considered a “Post-Industrial Opportunist” and ranked #21 on the Profit index, #70 for People, and #52 for Planet, for an overall score of #48.   The city with the highest score is London, but Batten pointed out that Brexit is, “unraveling the economic underpinnings” upon which that score is based.   The report concluded that, “Chicago’s citizen experience is similar to cities such as Los Angeles, Atlanta, Baltimore and Miami.  Citizens’ experiences in these cities are supported by a growing role of technology and are mostly positive.”  

Chicago’s Ranking for People (also known as “social”)
According to the study, Chicago offers relative affordability, decent education, higher life expectancy, and exceptional digital capabilities, and has the second highest cultural offerings score.  Batten commented on Chicago’s strong embrace of technology, even in City government with a strong 311 system.  However, Chicago does struggle with violent crime and transit desserts throughout the city.  Moreover, there is large income inequality, with 21% of Chicagoans living below the poverty line.  “This is a real challenge,” noted Batten, adding that this rate is higher than even New York City.  Lastly, Chicagoans suffer from a challenging work/life balance due to longer than average commutes.

Chicago’s Ranking for Planet (also known as “environmental”)
“Chicago has been a leader in this area forever, even going back to reversing the flow of the Chicago River for water quality, sanitation, and public health,” said Batten.  He also noted that Chicago is ahead of the curve for installing electrical vehicle infrastructure, which is good because many car manufacturers are looking to cut or eliminate the productive of internal combustion engines in the near future.  Chicago produces over 1 billion gallons a day of high quality drinking water, earns positive scores for reducing negative emissions, and is a very bike-friendly city.   For clean air Chicago scores well among its U.S. peers, but low compared to other national cities.   Chicago has room for improvement in creating green space, and using renewable energies, however Batten noted that the City is already working on the latter in many different ways, such as CTA’s commitment to be fully electric by 2040.

Chicago’s Rankings for Profit (also known as “economic”)
“This is the area your strongest in,” said Batten.  He added, “You have a large, diverse economy, and Chicago is an attractive employer.  Lots of students find Chicago to be an attractive market to build a career… it is one of the best places to do business…it has outstanding university technological research institutions.”  He commented that the only real concern is that Chicago’s GDP is well below other cities which is due to Chicago’s higher than average poverty rate.   
Batten also complimented Chicago on having a great central business district which is attractive to millennials.   He noted Chicago is also welcoming to start-ups, complete with venture capitalist funding opportunities.  Batten’s only real concern for this area was Chicago’s transportation infrastructure needs.  However, he and Tomas-Foster acknowledged a long list of planned improvements.  

Batten also congratulated Chicago for its commitment to mobility and said, “You have one of the most successful bike sharing programs in the world,” but he noted that Chicago has rising fatalities in car crashes, congestion in the city’s center is increasing, the CTA is losing ridership, and accessibility for the disabled continues to be a challenge.  

Suggestions for Improvement
Batten suggestions for improvement included prioritizing efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, increase green space, as well as enhance transportation infrastructure and public access.   He also recommended addressing violent crime, closing the gap on income inequity, and continuing the commitment to renewable energy usage.  

For more information, the full report can be found at Sustainable Cities Index 2018.
CCAC Supports Neighborhood Revitalizations
As CCAC rolls out a “Central City Strategy for All of Chicago” white paper and presentation focusing on the important linkages between the City core and neighborhoods, members of the CCAC leadership recently met at World Business Chicago to discuss an on-going effort to identify derelict properties on key blocks that hamper commercial corridors. 
Collectively, the working group is focused on creating a strategy to address these buildings and spur redevelopment.  The group is meeting next on May 9th.  For more information, contact CCAC Executive Director, Kelly O’Brien at
From L to R:  Christine Carlyle, Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB); Chris Eagan, World Business Chicago (WBC); Gregory Hummel, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP); Isaac Reichman, City of Chicago – Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP); Kelly O’Brien, Chicago Central Area Committee (CCAC);  Commissioner Judith Frydland, City of Chicago - Department of Buildings (DOB); Bernita Johnson-Gabriel, World Business Chicago (WBC); Tonya Trice, South Shore Chamber of Commerce; Lee Crandell, Lakeview Chamber of Commerce; Ryan Tolley, Small Business Advocacy Council (SBAC)
CCAC Announces Plans to Visit World Expo 
After a fierce competition, CCAC member Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture was selected to design the Al Wasl Plaza for the World Expo 2020 in Dubai.  During the February CCAC meeting, it was announced that a CCAC delegation would be traveling to Dubai in 2021 to attend the Expo, and experience Dubai and its many highlights stemming from this global event.  The delegation will attend from January 27 to February 2, 2021 (yes, 2021, which is the middle of the month-long event).  For more information about the Expo, please click on either of the following links:  

For more information or to be added to the delegation list, please contact Kelly O'Brien at  
Next CCAC Meeting:
Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Join us at the office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 for the May CCAC Luncheon hosted by Doug Voigt, Partner of Urban Planning and Design.  CCAC (and Burnham Council) Members are invited to attend this meeting to review the work by the three CCAC committees convenined in December and led by SOM to develop an agenda for a rapidly changing Central City which is seeing high rates of growth, a blurring of traditional boundaries, new ways of working, living and moving around, and a desire to see growth benefit all Chicago’s communities. 
The three committees have explored and refined practical ideas for linking Central City and neighborhood economic development, new mobility to connect neighborhoods and the Central City, and private sector broadband availability and public-sector hubs in west side and south side communities. Each has explored new ideas for expanded opportunity, greater connectivity and more equitable and inclusive outcomes for all of Chicago.
CCAC May Meeting 
Christopher Hall, Urban Strategy Leader, SOM, along with Central City Strategy Working Group Members 
Doug Voigt, Partner, Urban Planning and Design
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)
224 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 100, Chicago, Illinos  60604
Kelly O'Brien at  
The Burnham Council Update
Special thanks to Tiara Hughes of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP for designing the Burnham Council logo.

Formerly known as CCAC's "Young Leader" membership tier, the newly rebranded "Burnham Council” met and has been very active these past few months with a strategy session in March, a behind-the-scenes tour of O'Hare International Airport, and setting up their first "meet-up" for coffee at The Revival Cafe Bar located at the Revival Food Hall at 125 S. Clark St. on the last Thursday of every month from 8 a.m. - 9 a.m.  Mark your calendar for May 30.  

CCAC members are strongly encouraged to promote the Burnham Council in their firms by identifying the next generation of civic leaders.  Please submit names for those who should receive direct contact with information to
Burnham Council Tours O'Hare Airport
Burnham Council Executive Committee member Malek Abdulsamad, Real Estate Consultant, Compass Commercial, organized the group’s Q1 event by scheduling a presentation and tour at O’Hare International Airport.  The group met at the O’Hare Hilton and were escorted to the Administration Building for a presentation led by Deputy Aviation Commissioner Alejandro Leon discussing the O’Hare modernizational program, otherwise known as OMP.  His remarks also included the plans for the new Terminal 2.  Next, members boarded a shuttle for a guided tour by Keith Wisniewski, General Manager - Airfield Operations, of the airfield improvements and terminal apron.  Two highlights included walking on a closed taxiway to observe landings on an adjacent runway and going to the top of the original control tower that has been converted for other airport operations. 
Members of the Burnahm Council heard from Chicago Department of Aviation officials on April 17th about the future of the nation's busiest airport.
Burnham Council Coffee Meet-Ups
The Burnham Council will meet on Thursday, May 30 from 8 a.m. - 9 a.m. at The Revival Café Bar located at the Revival Food Hall at 125 S. Clark St. for coffee and networking.  The new monthly meet-ups are being organized by CCAC/Burnham Council member, Matt Cermak, Commercial Account Manager, Chicago Title Insurance Company.

Members are encouraged to let Matt know if they plan to attend by e-mailing but there is no formal registration.
Burnham Council Quarterly Meeting:  June 26
Members of the Burnham Council should save the date for a happy hour on Wednesday, June 26th with Alderman Walter Burnett of the 27th Ward, R2 Companies, and hear about improvements to the Chicago River through the Wild Mile project. Stay tuned for more details to be provided by CCAC/Burnham Council member, Penelope Campbell, Partner, Jenner & Block LP.
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