CCAC eNews
October 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 Hears About How City Initiatives are Changing Downtown and Nearby Neighborhoods
CCAC would like to thank Collete English Dixon, Executive Director, Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate, Roosevelt University, for hosting CCAC’s monthly luncheon on Tuesday, October 10, 2017. The keynote speaker was Steven Fifield, Chairman and CEO, Fifield Companies. Mr. Fifield explored the unintended consequences of real estate tax increases, bonus density fees, and the neighborhood opportunity fund bonus. The Affordable Requirements Ordinance was also discussed in great length.
Starting his remarks with a story about Fifield Companies building the Quaker Oats’ headquarters, which eventually turned into PepsiCo, Fifield discussed the dynamics of this particular building. After companies Frito Lay and Tropicana located offices in the building, Prudential then bought the entire building. Based on the agreement with Prudential, an offer was extended to lower the rent and extend the leases.  By converting the building from a “normal risky office building investment” into a long-term net lease, it became a more valuable property. In the end, selling it as a net lease property was more profitable because it was different kind of use. 
“We built an asset; it was a good asset for us. We made a profit on it, and sold it. As you change things, the profitability can change too,” Fifield stated.
(L:R) Greg Hummel, Partner, Bryan Cave LLP, Chairman, CCAC; Kelly O'Brien, Executive Director, CCAC; Collete English Dixon, Executive Director, Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate, Roosevelt University, and Steven Fifield, Chairman & CEO, Fifield Companies.
During the presentation, Fifield discussed the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund Bonus. In the slideshow, Fifield stated, “Neighborhood reinvestment zone expansion areas show areas that had lower density zoning than areas they were immediately adjacent to. Those areas were considered an expansion of the downtown zone, also known as “D districts.” Those districts have a density of 10-20 times FAR (fixed area ratio). “These adjacent areas also allow you to do an upzone in the range from 5 FAR to 8 FAR. The developer pays the city a fee of $20-$25 per square foot for the increase in the building area. The city has collected millions of dollars and for the developers, it was a brilliant move by the City. The land cost per building square foot just declined, which is a key thing in the development world. The long-term outcome will be good and the City of Chicago will receive more fees.” Fifield stated 80% of the fees the city collects goes to the Neighborhood reinvestment fund which allows the Aldermen in less-fortunate areas to subsidize development. 
The City Council cleared the vote for the new ARO (Affordable Requirements Ordinance) pilot program. The areas include: Near North of Chicago, Near West of Chicago and the Milwaukee Corridor. According to Fifield, the mapping was done with the Aldermen and their wards in mind. “The assumption is that we have not been building enough affordable housing in Chicago. Frankly, in my opinion we have not been building enough workforce housing. Affordable housing is considered 60-80% of AMI (adjusted median income) and it leaves around $63,000 per year in Chicago. Workforce housing is roughly 80-120%. Working people who are making $14-16 per hour can’t afford to live downtown nor can afford to send their kids to good school systems, it’s a dilemma.” 
Polling the CCAC audience, regarding their guess on the median income range in the new downtown apartment buildings, Fifield reveled the answer is $120,000-160,000. “What’s happened in the last 10 years is, we have been building these grander, cooler, amenity rich high-level finished buildings. The median age range has moved up from the mid 20’s to the mid 30’s depending on the building.” Fifield expounded on one of his property buildings, The Sinclair, which has a median age range of 35 and a median income of $170,000. The Sinclair will pay over $4,500 per unit in taxes. The Sinclair stands to be a very profitable building for the City of Chicago.
Fifield provided an in-depth description of the Affordable Requirements Ordinance for a type I construction across three Chicago areas including the West Loop, Milwaukee Avenue Corridor and part of River North. “The unintended consequences of trying to do social engineering with no incentives for affordable housing in these areas will be a disaster for the city. Why? Because all of us have to go to the same institutions and the banks to capitalize our deals. We need to meet the criteria that the investors and banks put on us. This ordinance reduces returns by 20%. The good news is that it’s a 3-year pilot program. Three of the hottest areas in the City of Chicago will see development, but only on grandfathered sites, which there are very few of in those neighborhoods,” Fifield expressed.
The political winds in Chicago are blowing in a certain direction today. Chicago now has the highest percentage of college graduates in any downtown city in the United States. We’ve been the highest growing downtown in the United States for a decade now. Fifield explained, “We have the higher income, white, college educated people in our downtown, north and west neighborhoods.” He continued, “Yet, minority families are leaving the city, traveling to closer suburbs, largely thinking they will have access to better schools. They have been disappointed because it’s not getting any better.”
Fifield concluded by noting a study from Portland, Oregon and the Urban Land Institute and stated, “there are several things to do in order to engineer more affordable and workforce housing in the city to get the private industry involved to generate this type of housing. One idea is to give lower real estate taxes in exchange for affordable housing, like New York City has done. The big conclusion is that you have to give incentives to get more affordable housing without stifling new apartment construction.”
 CCAC Audience at Roosevelt University for the October 10th Lunch.
Next CCAC Meeting:                                       
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at Sidley Austin LLP
Join us at Sidley Austin LLP on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 for the next CCAC meeting hosted by Jeff McIntosh, Associate, Sidley Austin LLP. 
(Reminder: Monthly lunches are for CCAC members in good standing and their guests)
An Update on the
Obama Presidential Center

Roark Frankel

Director of Planning and Construction

Obama Foundation 

Chris Brooks

Senior Project Manager, Project and Development Services

Jones Lang LaSalle


Tuesday, November 14, 2017


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


Sidley Austin

1 South Dearborn Street

Chicago, IL 60603


Jeff McIntosh

Sidley Austin LLP

Kelly O'Brien at

2017 Sprint Reception and Team Presentations Highlights
 The Winning Team: "Experience Woodlawn"
Pictured Above: (L:R) Kristin Boike, Jenner & Block LLP; Julie O'Brochta, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP. Not pictured: Alex Hanson, Sam Schwartz Engineering and Paul Darby, Arcadis
2017 CCAC Sprint Team Members 
 Opening Remarks at Daley's Restaurant
 CCAC Audience at Forum Studio for Stakeholder Interviews
The 2017 Charrette/Sprint was a success! CCAC's signature event created an opportunity to learn about the neighborhood where the Obama Presidential Center will be located and provide visions for transportation and unlocking economic development.
CCAC members participated in a three day sprint and unveiled their visions for enriching the existing community at a reception on Friday.
To recap the sprint:
Wednesday, September 27th: Our teams rode the Metra Electric to 59th Street and conducted a walking tour of the proposed route for the Obama Presidential Center from 59th Street to 63rd and Cottage Grove. Dinner was held at Daley's Restaurant.
Thursday, September 28th: Stakeholder interviews were held at  Forum Studio. CCAC team members heard presentations from the following:
  • Representatives from the Obama Foundation
  • A Transit Panel featuring members from Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), Metra Electric and the Chicago Skyway 
  • Community & Economic Development presentation from the Woodlawn, Washington Park, and South Shore Community and Economic Development Organization and the South East Chicago Commission
  • An overview of the Woodlawn Master Development Plan 
Friday, September 29th: The teams presented their visions to our audience during the reception hosted at Forum Studio.
CCAC would like to thank the Sprint Organizers: Andrew Moddrell, Port Urbanism and Tyler Meyr, Forum Studio.
We would also like to thank the Sprint Planning Committee: Malek Abdulsamad, Related Realty, Andrew Broderick, Perkins+Will, Anezka Gocova, Forum Studio, Brandon Hummel, The Law Offices of Brandon G. Hummel, Natnael Moges, Denton’s, Will Press, The John Buck Company, Aaron Spiering, JGMA Architecture.
Special thank you to our 2017 Sprint Sponsors for their support of our signature event. Thank you to Michael Csar, Partner, Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP and Greg Hummel, Partner, Bryan Cave LLP.
We would also like to highlight our advisors Kevin Byrnes, Byrnes & Walsh and P.Barton DeLacy, DeLacy Consulting for providing their real estate expertise to our teams.
A follow-up committee for the 2017 Sprint is being formed to explore and execute next steps. If you would like to join this effort, please e-mail CCAC Executive Director, Kelly O'Brien,
CCAC Welcomes International Delegation From Georgia
Members of the Georgia Delegation; Andrew Moddrell, Partner, PORT Urbanism; and Kelly O'Brien, Executive Director, CCAC
As part of the International Visitor Leadership Program, leaders from the country of Georgia, recently met in Chicago to learn about Chicago and it's urban planning, design and development. Meeting at the law offices of Bryan Cave LLP, the Georgia delegation included the Analytical Division Department Head, Municipal Transportation Department, at Tbilisi City Hall; a Geographer, Urban Planner, and Geogrpahic Information Systems Analyst for an art studio project and others focused on design in urban spaces.
Kelly O'Brien, Executive Director, CCAC, provided welcoming remarks and an overview of both organizations: the Alliance for Regional Development and the Chicago Central Area Committee.
CCAC Member, Andrew Moddrell, Partner, PORT Urbanism, provided a brief presentation of projects and design strategies. 
The delegation members expressed an interest in learning more about collaborative successes for future projects.
2018 Monthly Meeting Calendar in Development
CCAC members meet on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Please consider being a host. This is a unique opportunity to showcase your firm and allow members to see your office. If you are interested in hosting a monthly lunch meeting or have suggestions for programming, please contact Kelly O'Brien, 312-602-5148,
December Meeting and Holiday Reception
Please note the December Meeting and Holiday Recepiton will be held on Thursday, December 14, 2017 beginning at 4:30 pm, in the law office of Bryan Cave LLP, 161 N. Clark Street, Suite 4300, Chicago, IL 60601. Our guest speaker is Commissioner David Reifman, Department of Planning & Development, City of Chicago. All CCAC Members and Young Leaders are invited to attend this meeting and holiday reception. 
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