CCAC eNews
November 2016
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 2016 Meeting Calendar!
The CCAC 2016 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 Members Learn More About the Connector Proposal
CCAC would like to thank David Siegel, Partner, Sidley Austin for hosting CCAC’s monthly luncheon on November 8, 2016. The membership heard an informative presentation on the Connector, a proposed new central area rail line that would transform the City’s fabric as profoundly as the Loop “L” did 120 years ago. Led by the CCAC Leadership and the Connector Executive Team, the membership heard an overview of the proposal, highlights of the MacArthur Foundation grant application and discussed how best to move toward implementation.
The CCAC Connector Executive Team includes: Ranadip Bose, SB Friedman Development Advisors; Stephen Friedman, SB Friedman Development Advisors, Greg Hummel, Bryan Cave LLP; Avi Lothan, Lothan Van Hook DeStefano Architecture; Andrew Moddrell, PORT Urbanism; Steve Schlickman, Schlickman & Associates; Doug Voigt, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP; Mark Walbrun, Mott McDonald; and Ed Zotti, CCAC.
Opening the presentation, Greg Hummel, Bryan Cave LLP, said, “It is fitting that we are at a law firm that has been at the center of Chicago’s civic life for 150 years (referencing Sidley Austin). The Chicago Central Area Committee has been together for over 60 years. We have done a lot of planning and have been a collaborator with the Mayor’s Office and the City for many projects related to the central area.” Continuing, he said, “Previous projects such as Dearborn Park and the Chicago River, all championed by CCAC, had a future impact on the development of the central area." Hummel went on to recognize Steve Schlickman, Schlickman & Associates, and noted that he worked on the Circulator back in 1989, in which the Connector is its 21st Century version. The Connector has been two years in the making and involves a lot of members and their firms. Through a transportation workshop hosted back in July 2014, Ed Zotti joined the CCAC team to be the White Paper principal author and he has demonstrated a tremendous passion for this initiative.
The goal for the meeting was to be a call to action for everybody who is a part of CCAC as well as other constituent organizations. Hummel continued, “We face a challenge. We must convince decision makers to embrace our proposal, which will bring a positive long-term impact for our great city. The connector will do that. The vision is to secure our City’s future through expanded rail that connects the central area and our commuter rail stations with the four transit lines and the adjacent neighborhoods that are cropping up on their own based on market demand.” The new connector line to the City’s core permits expansion of a booming central area. In the early 1970s, the issue was the exiting of businesses to the suburbs and the issue today is people wanting to live here. It is imperative that the ability to move around is addressed. One goal is to leverage existing rail to also revitalize the South Side. Our team worked around the clock in September submitting a 42-page application to the MacArthur Foundation for a transformative grant opportunity of $100 million. Hummel noted, “This is not only about the Connector but also about the South Side and finding a way to get transit close to the Obama Library and beyond. The concept of creating a transit redevelopment trust will not only help us do this project but also create a national model for how best to revitalize cities, with intelligent use of transit and intelligent investment around transit, so that the value capture can be channeled in a way that helps remake neighborhoods. If we win the $100 million, tremendous. If we don’t, we want to go forward and galvanize the political will in our town and the people around this table can make that happen.” Hummel reminded the audience that earlier this year, Steve Fifield, Fifield Companies, hosted about 30 people inviting them to join this effort. The Connector has generated much interest and support.  CCAC has available a 200-page document that lays out a detailed plan.
(L:R) Steve Schlickman, Schlickman & Associates; Greg Hummel, Bryan Cave LLP; Avi Lothan, Lothan Van Hook DeStefano Architecture; Andrew Moddrell, PORT Urbanism; Stephen Friedman, SB Friedman Development Advisors; Ranadip Bose, SB Friedman Development Advisors; Doug Voigt, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP; Mark Walbrun, Matt MacDonald; Ed Zotti, CCAC.
Ed Zotti, CCAC Consultant, began his presentation discussing the completed work products. One is the Connector White Paper, which makes the case for rail transit expansion in the Chicago central area. The White Paper, available on the CCAC website, is over 200+ pages and chronicles work over a 2-year period. The second work product is the submission of the proposal for the MacArthur Foundation’s 100 & Change Grant Application, which gives out a single grant for $100 million to solve a problem. Zotti stated, “Our goal is to pull Chicago together using transit. The MacArthur grant submission was an ideal opportunity to begin public outreach and to inform people of the potential in this area.” Zotti then noted that Greg Hinz of Crain’s Chicago Business wrote a column highlighting the CCAC project and stated, “The group's idea surely fits Daniel Burnham's "make no little plans" mold." 
As part of the MacArthur Foundation grant application, CCAC submitted a 90- second video of the Connector proposal. Andrew Moddrell and Brandon Biederman of PORT Urbanism, spearheaded the creation of the video. Please click the link below to access the video.
The presentation continued with a synopsis of demographic indicators taken from the US Census ranging from 1980 - 2014. The City of Chicago has changed in the 34-year span.  The core is booming in two respects: jobs and residents.  Employment is at a record high and from the period of 2000-2010, Chicago has had the fastest growing downtown population of any U.S. city including New York in both percentage and absolute terms and that’s likely to continue in the next decade. Zotti projects between 2010-2020 we’ll have 100,000 more people in the central area. We expect to see a substantial increase in downtown employment. The City is doing much better than its widely recognized.
Regarding the two components of the Connector Project, Zotti indicated the purpose is to primarily serve everyone in the Downtown area as well as the South side. The two problems that loom here for the central area are gridlock and the City being at capacity in a decade’s time. There are long term plans to add more capacity but that will take billions of dollars and decades to complete. Zotti continued, “We need to provide additional transit capacity because what we have now is not well suited to the needs that will be placed upon us in a very short time. Land that cannot be reached that needs to be developed. We need to make some investments in a prompt manner. Much of the growth continues to be absorbed in the central area.” 
Avi Lothan, Lothan Van Hook DeStefano Architecture, provided insight on how the Connector will help address that growth in the central area. Lothan began by discussing big themes that are essential to the entire study and the plan for the City. He stated, “The first is the pattern of occupancy in the City and the way people get around has changed profoundly in the last generation. The statistics really reinforce the fact that the transit system we have was designed in most cases over 100 years ago, to support a hub and spoke system.” He expressed, “What we’re seeing is a significant amount of growth both commercial/office and residential that are lying outside the framework of the original transit system that was designed. There aren’t really good ways to get around. The patterns have changed fundamentally and the system configured right now, really doesn’t help.” The CCAC proposal expands the opportunities within the City to reflect the way people are living and getting around the central business district area today. The Chicago Department of Transportation and CTA are focused on a significant number of enhancements for capacity that will push the spoke of this ‘hub and spoke’ system out even further particularly on the South side. But in several other districts there will be significant transit enhancements which will provide opportunity to bring more people downtown. Lothan discussed the ‘Last Mile Problem’ and asked, “Once you get downtown, how do you get across town? As we’re putting more people on the “L” by expanding these spokes, that problem gets exacerbated and downtown traffic gets even worse.”
The Connector provides the last mile distribution system for all the additional people who will be living and working in the foreseeable future. Lothan stated, “The first piece that we’re focused on is the minimal operable segment which goes from Union Station south to Columbus and Grand on the east, with significant contributions and connections to the Red Line, Metra Electric, and trying to tie these together.” He indicated this is a short piece of transit infrastructure but by far the most complicated. He continued, “getting this done will unlock all the other pieces that we’re trying to achieve in terms of reaching out and then bringing in on grade and much simpler in terms of infrastructure construction.” The first section, the minimal operable segment, is conceived to be a grade separated system. Lothan stated, “it will be above grade on Clinton as it connects to Union Station and the Carroll Avenue right away just north of the river the east west branch and continuing under Michigan avenue to Columbus. That’s the hardest piece to achieve.” The research conducted for the White Paper proved that it is doable. The next step is to create the political will to make it happen.
Ranadip Bose, SB Friedman Development Advisors, discussed the opportunities once the Connector is in place and what this system will do with the expansion. Referencing a map, Bose highlighted the walkshed which is the representation of a boundary line. He stated, “50% of all land uses in the map have gone into the central area and 90% of all office development is in the central area.” He continued and said, “it is the economic engine for this area, because that zone has both the regional access to all the Metra lines going in downtown and the central loop system.” He expressed, “to be able to continue the competitiveness of Chicago, we have to think of a way to expand. There is no more than 15 years left of development capacity left in the central area. This aligns with the Mayor’s vision of taking development out to the neighborhoods. This is making development more competitive up to the northwest side of the north branch to the south side and includes some of the key sites that are slated for development, i.e. Michael Reese. Bose ended and said, “The economic opportunity here is to keep Chicago competitive and we need something like the Connector which expands the central area and continues to capture the development.”
Doug Voigt, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, provided insight on the planning process for the Connector. Over the course of two years, Voigt expressed that we’ve learned a lot about the City in terms of the dynamic drivers that warrant attention. He continued, “This is a powerful, bold idea and now we need some clear talking points so that any one of us in this room can speak about the power of this idea.”
"One of the most powerful things CCAC can do is to stress the importance of ambition, vision and to take ideas like this and start to demonstrate the greater civic benefit,” Doug Voigt stated. Referencing the White Paper, Voigt explained that the Executive Committee started to quantify ideas such as: the general issue of transit equity; increased access between workforce and quality jobs addressing the emerging dynamic within the City; the connectivity and starting to quantify the benefits to local business and neighborhoods; leveraging the initial infrastructure through with the minimal operable segment; providing affordable transit options and of course the sustainable walkable for our neighborhoods. Voigt further commented, “Another advantage regarding the minimal operable segment is the immediate benefit it will have to the visitor experience and to Choose Chicago, making Chicago a strategic choice because it’s easier to get around from McCormick Place to Navy Pier.”
Next, Steve Schlickman, Schlickman & Associates, provided a brief recap of lessons learned from his work on the Circulator. Schlickman began by explaining that it is important to understand why the Circulator didn’t happen. He expressed, “Before the alignment was laid out, Mayor Daley adopted this project. The City was already looking at how to build a rail line on the West side along the Canal/Clinton Corridor over to Carroll Street and over to Michigan Avenue. For a long time, the importance of a higher capacity transit distribution circulation system has been recognized as an important need for downtown. When the City was looking at the alignment, the RTA had identified the whole central area as an opportunity for transit improvement.” Based on the MPC study funded by the RTA to look at the area from a broader perspective, the study convinced them to address the broader circulation distribution of the whole central area. Schlickman then noted that “Everything that has been said today as to why we need the Connector is reminiscent of twenty years ago, however, the situation today is more intense."
Greg Hummel opened the floor for comments and members asked questions regarding Metra Electric, working with the City and financing the initiative.
Steve Fifield, Fifield Companies, remarked “With the minimal operable segment being funded partially with a SSA, it means that the building owners within the 10-15-minute walk area, are going to see their real estate taxes go up. I can tell you first hand that the majority of the building owners, myself included, who will be impacted by this are ready to step up.” He continued, “the approach CCAC took reaching out to owners and developers from the beginning of the White Paper has galvanized the vast majority of people.  I’ve spoken to those that will be impacted and I’ve been told they are completely in favor of this plan.  I think that’s important. Because you got those people behind it already.”
In closing, Greg Hummel gave the membership an assignment. He requested each member to contact Executive Director, Kelly O’Brien, and provide thoughts on the project and a commitment to get involved and assist as CCAC builds a bigger constituency with other organizations.
Next CCAC Meeting:                                       
Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at Bryan Cave LLP
Note: 4:30 p.m. Start Time
Join us at Bryan Cave LLP on Tuesday, December 13, 2016 for the next CCAC meeting hosted by Gregory Hummel, Partner, Bryan Cave LLP.


Jim Schultz

Chairman and CEO

Intersect Illinois

Former Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce



Tuesday, December 13, 2016



4:30 p.m.



Bryan Cave LLP 

161 North Clark Street

Suite 4300 

Chicago, IL 60601 



Gregory Hummel

Bryan Cave LLP

Kelly O'Brien at

"CCAC December Meeting and Holiday Reception"
Please mark your calendars for the CCAC December Meeting and Holiday Reception to be held on Tuesday, December 13, 2016 beginning at 4:30 p.m. at the office of Bryan Cave LLP, 161 N. Clark Street, Suite 4300, Chicago, IL 60601. Our guest speaker is Jim Schultz, Chairman and CEO, Intersect Illinois. All CCAC Members and Young Leaders are invited to attend this meeting and holiday reception. Please join us for our last meeting for the year 2016!
In the News!
Chicago Sun-Times:
"To Push Chicago Ahead, Make It Easier To Get Around"
"Chicago today faces extraordinary challenges. But we’ve been here before.
The Chicago Central Area Committee has been an advocate of long-term strategic planning for more than 60 years. We sponsored the initiative that created Dearborn Park in the South Loop. We believe the time has come for equally bold action now...."
To continue reading the article, please click the link below.
2017 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. The calendar fills up quickly so do not delay.  If you are interested in hosting a monthly lunch meeting or have suggestions for programing, please contact Kelly O'Brien, 312-602-5148,
CCAC Young Leader Executive Committee Hosts 2017 Strategy Session
(L:R) Malek Abdulsamad, Streeterville Properties; Will Press, The John Buck Company; Andrew Moddrell, PORT Urbanism; Shalora Jasper, CCAC; Natnael Moges, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP; Tyler Meyr, Forum Studio; Aaron Spiering, JGMA Architecture; Katie Martin, Forum Studio; LeeAnn Tomas-Foster, Arcadis; Marisa Doherty, The Habitat Company; Andrew Broderick, Perkins+Will; and Brandon Hummel, Riordan, McKee & Piper, LLC.  
Great ideas were shared at the CCAC Young Leader strategy session hosted earlier this month. The Committee is now working to finalize details and will share its agenda in early 2017. 
CCAC thanks the current Young Leader Executive Team Members for their dedication: Malek Abdulsamad, Streeterville Properties; Tyler Meyr, Forum Studio; Andrew Moddrell, PORT Urbanism; Mike Potter, Riverside Investment and Development; and Will Press, The John Buck Company.
As the Young Leader Tier continues to grow, CCAC is pleased to welcome the newest members to the Executive Team: Andrew Broderick, Perkins+Will; Penelope Cambell, Jenner & Block; Marisa Doherty, The Habitat Company; Brandon Hummel, Riordan, McKee & Piper, LLC; Katie Martin, Forum Studio; Natnael Moges, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP; Aaron Spiering, JGMA Architecture; and LeeAnn Tomas-Foster, Arcadis.
If you are interested in joining the Young Leaders please see the information below and contact Kelly O'Brien, 312-602-5148,
Membership Tier for CCAC Young Leaders
CCAC is pleased to have launched this new membership tier.  As you know, this initiative is geared towards young professionals, and includes dynamic programming and networking opportunities tailored to Chicago’s next generation of leaders.  Through its Young Leader initiative, CCAC is aiming to ensure that Chicago’s future continues to have thoughtful and civic-minded leaders to meet the future demands of a world-class city.
Please mark your calendars for the December meeting and Holiday Reception on Tuesday, December 13, 2016. Young Leaders, whose firms are CCAC Members are automatically included, and Individual Young Leaders are welcome to attend. 
Interested in Membership? Non-firm/Individual Young Leader Membership is $1,000.00 annually. 
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