CCAC February Newsletter
CCAC February Newsletter
CCAC eNews
February 2021
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 2021 Meeting Calendar (PDF)
The CCAC 2021 Meeting Calendar is ready to download in PDF format. Until further notice all CCAC meetings will be held over Zoom.  

Download the CCAC 2021 Meeting Calendar (PDF)

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Chicago Retail Faces Challenges and Opportunities in a Post-COVID World 
CCAC would like to thank Mike Mallon, CCIM, CREX, Senior Vice President, Draper and Kramer, Inc. for speaking at the February membership meeting.  Mallon discussed how the retail industry has changed over the past year, and how the industry is going to continue to change going forward.
Mallon started his presentation by saying, “No doubt about it, retail as a sector has had lots of problems, and those problems were aggravated and compounded more last year with COVID.”  Mallon explained that historically retailers embraced their physical stores, and retail space in the United States is much bigger than in other countries, which has created an abundance of square footage.  Mallon told the membership that retailers will have to reform the use of this space moving forward, and many retailers will downsize their spaces.  Change is necessary for this sector, and he explained how the internet allows retailers new opportunities, such as the ability to reduce their showrooms and footprint, which produces a cost savings.  He said, “Retailers that can embrace the internet are going to be the folks that will survive.”  
Mallon showed data that shows how shopping center development projects have slowed down.  
According to Mallon, one particular segment of the retail sector that had a particular difficult time during the pandemic was apparel.  The sector that grew the most was home improvement as everyone invested in their homes followed by grocery stores which also saw noticeable increases.  
Mallon explained that shopping malls were facing a lot of problems even before the pandemic, and that many will be forced to close.  While some of the bigger name shopping malls will still exist because they are important destinations, he believes other less notable malls will become opportunities for other companies, and many malls may diversify to something other than retail such as entertainment or fulfillment centers.  Mallon did say that most new retail growth is in urban areas with smaller stores and said, “It’s really all about density, and density equates out to sales.”  Specifically related to Chicago’s downtown, he predicted that Michigan Avenue will continue to thrive, but there may be new players on the famous street.
For restaurants Mallon expects smaller formats, outdoor dining, and more drive-through opportunities.  He also said ghost kitchens where the food is cooked off-site for delivery, are also becoming popular.  He also predicted grocery stores will continue to get creative with their offerings and will expand into new markets.  However, he predicted the grocery sector may also experience some consolidations.  
As a special gift to CCAC members, those who participated in the meeting were later sent Mallon’s new and active retailer list of over 570 companies that are doing business in Chicago.  Mallon said, “Deals are taking a lot longer to get done, but they are getting done.”
A Letter from CCAC Chairman Greg Hummel
Dear Members,
Early in February, I learned that Kelly O’Brien was considering moving to Charlotte, NC to take a position as Chief Advocacy and Strategy Officer at the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance.  Kelly will start this new chapter in her life on March 1st. Her work as CCAC’s Executive Director and CEO of the Alliance for Regional Development has been brilliant. I recall really getting to know her in 2011 when a contingent of us traveled to Paris to present before the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). I knew then she was someone who could advance the work of CCAC and indeed she has. Today we are undertaking really important work for the City of Chicago and our place at that table is in considerable part a result of Kelly’s skills, passion, and cheerful demeanor.  I know I speak for the members of CCAC’s Executive Committee as we had a chance to thank Kelly in a zoom call packed with laughter, a few tears, and heartfelt thanks for her time with us.
In the eight years Kelly has been the Executive Director of CCAC she has grown the organization immeasurably.  She has taken the organization from a small group of companies and individuals who believed in civic leadership, to one of the City’s most respected organizations that provides thought leadership on transportation, healthcare, land use, and development.  Her leadership with our partner organization the Alliance for Regional Development (ARD) is noteworthy too. She organized seven Summits at the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank including the last one which was a virtual week of thought leadership featuring speakers from Paris, New York, Washington DC and other global cities. In fact, we made history by having Mayor Lightfoot (Chicago), Mayor Barrett (Milwaukee) and Mayor Prince (Gary) on a joint panel.  It was the first time the three spoke publicly together and they pledged their support for regional collaborations.  Today at the ARD we are planning a Midwest Center for Innovation that will knit together business, government, academic, and foundation leaders in a virtual and actual network that will marshal a number of Midwest’s assets around digital innovation and workforce development.
Kelly’s leadership has helped our organization and its membership make a real impact in the City we all love, and we will miss her dearly.  If not for the pandemic we would surely have a proper send off for Kelly, but with that option not available, I hope you will join me and send her your own thanks individually.
While nobody can replace Kelly, the CCAC Executive Board will be undertaking a search process to find her successor while we also contemplate some strategic planning initiatives.  In the meantime, I have asked some familiar faces to ensure CCAC continues to be “a driving force in shaping Chicago’s growth, equity and qualify of place on behalf of our fellow citizens."
Andrew Broderick, Senior Associate, Perkins & Will, and President of The Burnham Council, has also agreed to take on additional responsibilities to be our Senior Project Manager of the Forward Together Implementation project.
Another key CCAC leader is Chris Hall of SOM who has been a driving force for the Central Area Strategy for All Chicago and is playing a key role in Forward Together Implementation.
Many members will also recognize Clint W. Sabin, Principal Consultant, Fifth Star Public Affairs, who has been assisting CCAC with a variety of projects over the years. He brings twenty years of experience in public administration and policy work specializing in real estate and transportation, and is particularly familiar with the central business district.  Clint will be responsible for managing the daily needs of CCAC, and can be reached at
Also helping us is Nira Harikrishnan, a graduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University recently hired by Kelly to assist as a Project Coordinator.  Most notably Nira will be tracking our important work with Mayor Lightfoot’s INVEST South/West initiatives and can be reached at
Thank you for your continued support for our important work.  I look forward to the day we can meet in person again to give Kelly a proper thank you for her years of dedicated work.
Greg Hummel
CCAC Chairman of the Board
Senior Counsel, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

Please Participate:  Chicago Loop Alliance February Survey 
Recently Michael Edwards, President and CEO, Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA), was a guest speaker on the CCAC/Alliance webinar series.  As a follow up, CCAC members have been invited to participate in CLA's monthly survey tracking operating plans for businesses located in the downtown area.  Please click here to fill out the February survey.  Participants will also be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift certificate to a Loop area restaurant.  
Next CCAC Member Meeting:  Tuesday, March 9, 2021
CCAC is continuing its tradition of member meetings on the second Tuesday of the month.  Instead of in-person lunches, we now meet virtually over Zoom until further notice.
These monthly presentations are for MEMBERS ONLY and a registration link will be sent directly to members in good standing.
Manufacturing and Innovation in a Post-COVID Climate
COVID has drastically changed the manufacturing industry, highlighting our nation’s strengths, but, also, revealing opportunities for innovation and improvement within the industry. As things progress “back to normal,” Haven examines industry trends, ways manufacturing corporations, employees, and stakeholders will function in a post-COVID world and, specifically, how the Midwest is positioned to come out of the crisis stronger than ever.
Haven Allen, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, mHUB
CCAC March Membership Meeting
Haven Allen, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, mHUB
Tuesday, March 9, 2021
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. 
Webinar via Zoom
Clint W. Sabin
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