CCAC eNews
June 2017
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 2017 Meeting Calendar!
The CCAC 2017 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.)
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CCAC Facilitates Discussion Around the Current State of Affordable Housing in Chicago
CCAC would like to thank Gina Berndt, Managing Director of Perkins+Will for hosting CCAC’s monthly luncheon on Tuesday, June 13th. Our members heard a panel discussion on “Multi-Family and Millennial Housing Projects in Chicago.” Guest speakers included Tom Kasznia, Managing Principal, Perkins+Will; David Block, Director of Development, Evergreen Real Estate Group; Lee Pratter, Senior Director of Development, Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and Kyler Queen, Marketing Manager, Perkins+Will moderated the panel.
Our panelists examined affordable housing from a range of tenant populations – from Generation Z, to Millennials, to Boomers –to address evolving the market to accommodate more options and more people, while positioning new developments that are in alignment with community and neighborhood goals.
(L:R) David Block, Director of Development, Evergreen Real Estate Group; Tom Kasznia, Managing Principal, Perkins+Will; Lee Pratter, Senior Director of Development, Chicago Housing Authority; and Kyler Queen, Marketing Manager, Perkins+Will.
After a brief introduction of each speaker, moderator Kyler Queen asked questions relating their work to affordable housing in Chicago. One question addressed the balance of protecting the character of neighborhoods while providing the opportunity of affordable housing. Lee Pratter noted that each project is evaluated on a case by case basis and depends on the community and what makes sense in that neighborhood. “The CHA is working with over 70 neighborhoods in Chicago. We are looking at new opportunities in strong neighborhoods to get other affordable housing and mixed income projects,” Pratter noted. David Block stated, “Affordable housing and good design are compatible, and it’s essential that the two of them come together.” Block continued to elaborate and said, “the struggle is, the world doesn’t know what affordable housing is or what it looks like. This is due to 100 years of racial and economic socialization in Chicago.” Block mentioned that numerous people will ask him about the Cabrini-Green Housing Projects. “Cabrini-Green has been gone for many years and yet it’s still a neighborhood that sets the standard and is a realistic overview of what people know regarding affordable housing.” Block declared that changing the historic memory about what affordable housing was built on and what it can become in the 21st Century is his goal. Tom Kasznia used an analogy comparing affordable housing to cars. Kasznia stated, “All cars have security, safety, sustainability and economy. We want our housing to have the same effects. The connection of technology in 2017 should be visible in the design of housing.” Kasznia agreed with Block in saying that people have stubborn perceptions about affordable housing projects.
Effectively communicating with neighborhood residents who are opposed to affordable housing can be hard. Accommodating their living preferences and explaining to the residents it’s about the greater good is also challenging. Pratter reported that a way to combat both situations is to develop relationships with people you can trust. “Let’s have the housing projects well managed and sustainable. We should have serious conversations about management in the same way we have conversations on parking, transit, schools, etc.,” said Pratter. Agreeing with Pratter, Block said, “when you’re in the business of property management, you’re dealing with people. You are also dealing with low-income people whose lives are more complicated than others. The most challenging part is managing the properties where these people live and are trying to solve day to day issues.” Kasznia emphasized the importance of supporting and understanding the context of the project. We should make sure the vision and energy matches the developer and from a financial perspective, have the lender involved. “Design for the resident and not for the developer. What’s necessary for people to be successful and grow becomes the responsibility of the architecture to provide something they can be proud of and support.”
There are some creative ways in which affordable rental apartments are being conceived, such as the one between the Chicago Housing Authority and Chicago Public Library for three senior living/library projects that are looking to revitalize their respective locales. Kyler Queen noted that our speakers are involved in various capacities with these projects and asked them to describe the community and stakeholder engagement strategies and lessons learned behind these mixed-income developments.
Lee Pratter started the conversation and said, “CHA has 4 library projects—3 of them are mixed use buildings with residential component. One is a library that involves 100% public housing on the South Side of Chicago. This is the first time CHA has worked with the Chicago Public Library to have them co-located. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to be in neighborhoods and wards we haven’t been in before.” In discussing the challenges and lessons learned from the projects, Pratter noted the aggressive timelines and speed to accommodate the December 2018 opening date. The challenge is the speed of the project and the quality of design work. CHA is putting more money into the units and subsidizing the ability to get more affordable housing projects built. Pratter said, “We currently have a wait list of over 32,000 people. The number of people in Chicago who qualify to be on the CHA wait list is over 600,000. The challenge is figuring out how to create a wonderful design, find desired locations in neighborhoods that make sense, and create the financing at prices we can deliver.”
David Block expressed that his firm is fortunate to be involved with two of the projects. “The only way a project of this complexity, speed, and number of players can work is the basic level of trust and good faith.” He continued, “these projects aren’t cheap. Projects happen by using federal resources. Evergreen Real Estate uses tax credits and tax reform to finance their projects.”
Tom Kasznia agreed with both Pratter and Block’s comments. He added that “it’s imperative to look at what is important to us in our core. From an architecture point of view and specifically from Perkins+Will, the “public library-housing building” is the exact project we should be completing. We took a chance on this project and it has paid off not only for us but the City of Chicago as a whole.”
Panelists and the CCAC Audience at the June 13th Lunch.
Next CCAC Meeting:                                       
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 at Perkins+Will
Join us at The Hubbard Place on Tuesday, July 11, 2017 for the next CCAC meeting hosted by Steve Galler, Executive Vice President- General Counsel, The Habitat Company.

Blair Kamin

Architecture Critic

Chicago Tribune 



Tuesday, July 11, 2017



12:00 -- 1:30 p.m.



The Hubbard Place

360 West Hubbard Street

Chicago, IL 60611 



Steve Galler

The Habitat Company

Kelly O'Brien at

“Why Gateways Matter"
Gateways create an indelible first impression, whether they form an entrance to a university, a cemetery or a city. What should we make of Chicago’s major gateways, from Union Station to O’Hare International Airport? This talk will provide a conceptual framework, examining gateways around the world, including the gates of Harvard Yard, the focus of a 2016 book edited by Kamin.
Highlights from the Wrigley Field Tour and Special Thank You to CCAC Member, Brian Bernardoni
The rain didn't stop the CCAC Members from enjoying a night at the ballpark! As a special program, CCAC members had the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes of the legendary home of the Chicago Cubs and 2016 World Series champions on June 14th.
CCAC Member and Wrigley Historian, Brian Bernardoni, Senior Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy, Chicago Association of Realtors, provided the group with an in-depth tour, along with a riveting tale of history and fun facts. Our guided tour included visits to the Press Box, Budweiser Bleachers, Visitors' clubhouse, Cubs' Dugout, and Field. 
Immediately following the tour, CCAC sponsored a "Happy Hour" networking reception at Yak-Zies Bar & Grill. 
CCAC would like to thank Brian and the other Wrigley staff for making the evening enjoyable for all.
CCAC 2nd Quarter Young Leader Event: 
Tour of Northerly Island
Register Today!
Join us to learn about the History, Framework Plan & Design, Construction, and Program & Future Planning for Northerly Island. Speakers include: Claire Cahan, StudioGangArchitects, Gregg Calpino, SmithGroup JJR, Teishetta Daniel, Chicago Park District and Bob Foster, Chicago Housing Authority, formerly with the Chicago Park District. Transportation will depart from the law office of Bryan Cave LLP and CCAC Headquarters, 161 N. Clark Street, at 5:00 pm.
The tour begins at 5:30 pm with a Happy Hour to follow.
For Membership Information and to RSVP contact Shalora Jasper at
Interested in Participating in the CCAC Young Leader Connector Sprint?
In response to the rapid growth of the Chicago central area as the primary economic engine of the region and the near-capacity ridership of CTA trains that has come with it, the CCAC proposes the construction of a new transit line - the Connector.
To anticipate the impact of future transit stops along an extension from the City’s core, the CCAC Young Leaders Group is organizing a Sprint to envision the potential for one neighborhood - Jackson Park. The sprint will be held Wednesday-Friday, September 27-29 at Forum Studio.
Wednesday, September 27th
5:30 pm- Introduction, Teams & Format, Stakeholder Dinner
Thursday, September 28th
9:00 am: Bagels & Coffee
10:00 am: Stakeholder Interviews
12:00 pm: Full Day Work Session
7:00 pm: Working Dinner
Friday, September 29th: Final Presentations
9:00 am: Bagels & Coffee
4:00 pm: Final Presentations
5:00 pm: Reception
Participants in the workshop will focus on how transit can unlock economic development opportunities that enrich the existing community and integrate the Obama Presidential Center plans.
For more information and to register, e-mail Shalora Jasper at
Please Support CCAC Member, Arcadis with its event: "Surplus Brownfield Properties to Solar" 
Please join Arcadis for a presentation on Surplus Brownfield Properties to Solar, Update on the Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and Illinois Power Agency (IPA). Join Arcadis on Thursday, June 29, 2017 at 4:00 pm at the Arcadis Office, 200 S. Michigan Avenue, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60604.
Please RSVP by June 28th to 
According to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the city of Chicago has committed to ensure all government buildings will be powered by 100% renewal electricity by 2025, which would make the city the country’s largest major city to power all their public buildings from 100% renewal electricity.  How can surplus properties be used to turn land assets into solar energy in Illinois.  How can the RPS and IPA Solar Energy Procurements help you reach your goals for renewable energy use in 2018 and beyond?
Below are bullet points that will be discussed during this event:
  • Interdependence of surplus land assets and energy end users for successful deployment of solar energy through the Illinois Future Energy Jobs Act
  • An update on the Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and Illinois power Agency (IPA) 
  • IPA RPS, mandate integration of new solar energy systems into ComEd Grid
  • Real Estate:  What is the ideal property for repurposing into a solar energy asset?
  • Energy end-users:  How the IPA programs can benefit you with lower energy rates and demand charge reduction?
  • IPA RPS, Spring 2017 Solar Procurement results
  • Future Energy Road Map
Arcadis is the leading global natural and built asset design and consultancy firm, working in partnership with their clients to deliver exceptional and sustainable outcomes through the application of design, consultancy, engineering, project and management services.  GEN Energy is a Midwest solar development firm that has been in the solar market space for 10 years.  Arcadis offers creative financial structures and turn-key solutions that are unique to each of their clients.
For more information, please contact Executive Director, Kelly O'Brien at 
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