CCAC eNews
September 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 the Amtrak Redevelopment Plans for Chicago
CCAC would like to thank Thomas McElroy, Principal, Level-(1) Global Solutions, for hosting CCAC’s monthly luncheon on Tuesday, September 12th at The Tortoise Club. Our membership heard a presentation on Amtrak’s commercial development plans for Chicago Union Station and its surrounding property from Ray Lang, Chief, State & Local Affairs, of Amtrak. This plan will include the construction of several towers on the air rights that Amtrak owns in and around Union Station.  Amtrak hopes to use the revenue generated from this development to help pay for the Chicago Union Station Master Plan, which is the comprehensive plan that Amtrak, Metra and the City are working on to modernize and improve the station’s tracks, platforms and concourse.
Before diving into the Amtrak Development Plan for Chicago, Lang provided background information on Union Station in Chicago. Regarding its operations, Union Station is the 3rd busiest station in the United States, serving more than 300 trains per weekday including (Amtrak and Metra).
The planning goals for Union Station include improving circulation and safety, increasing capacity, enhancing customer experience, and improving connectivity.
Lang had two main speaking points, highlighting the City-led Master Plan and discussing the Master Development Agreement analyzing Union Station and its train and pedestrian movement in the building. Lang expressed, “We want a transportation led redevelopment project, in order to make sure the transportation element is primary, to take care of the needs of the loop.”
(L:R) Ray Lang, Chief, State & Local Government Affairs, Amtrak; Kelly O'Brien, Executive Director, CCAC; and Thomas McElroy, Principal, Level-(1) Global Solutions.
The Chicago Union Station Master Plan, released by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) in May 2012, in collaboration with Amtrak, Metra, RTA and other local regional stakeholders released a report on a study they conducted.  Phase 1A planning partners include City of Chicago (CDOT, Metra, RTA), and other stakeholders. Goals of the study included: provision of sufficient capacity for current and future ridership demand, improved station access, passenger circulation and customer experience, improved connections with local and regional buses, transit, taxis and shuttles, creation of a catalyst for growth in Chicago and the region, while attracting nearby private development, restoration of a prominent civic landmark, and recommendation of near, mid and long‐term improvement projects.
Amtrak reports that Phase 1A, which consists of the preliminary engineering work for the Master Plan/Near Term Improvement projects combining planning, historic review, and design, is underway. It is an 18-month process. The 30% design phase, projected to be completed in October 2017, will provide the necessary groundwork and documentation to receive the environmental clearance. “We will use federal dollars to finance the master plan. There’s no way around that,” Lang noted. 
Lang shared some ideas on the renovations. Amtrak is planning to remove the old mail and baggage platforms to create a new and wider platform, provide new vertical access on the south side on Jackson Street, and make new entrances and exits to the building. “Currently the platforms are too close, and because of that reason, Metra can’t unload two trains at a time. This lengthens the amount of time the trains have to be there. Metra’s big express trains have up to 1200 passengers during the morning commute. Union Station is not equipped to handle it. Our plan is to create more capacity for Metra and Amtrak trains.”
Continuing to discuss the Phase 1A projects, Lang expressed how CCAC can be helpful to Amtrak and the project going forward. Two of the projects involve, “Creating New Pedestrian Passageways to Ogilvie Station and to the Clinton Blue Line Station.”  Lang stated, “Union Station doesn’t have direct access to any of the “L” lines (blue line, green line, pink line, etc.). But the Blue Line goes near Union Station. We have a tunnel that goes between the station and the parking garage. If we extend the tunnel south, we will reach the Blue Line.” He continued, “It’s a really important project for union station to have direct access for Amtrak and Metra passengers to the Blue Line. Shame on us if we redo the station, but don’t fix the transit connection.” The ultimate issue is that the Blue Line connection on Clinton does not belong to Amtrak and the challenge in making that particular station ADA compliant will cost upwards of $100+ million dollars. Similar to the Blue Line, the connection at Ogilvie is also a challenge. However, Lang expressed, “if we are able to get these two connections under the surface, we will have linked all the stations together and this is a wonderful thing for the City and its future for transportation.”
Lang briefly touched upon the goals of the Master Development program which include, attracting world‐class developers, investors, architects and engineers to maximize the value of Amtrak’s portfolio of real estate assets at and around its largest stations. Lang expressed, “In order to realize the vision of a bold, fully integrated mixed-use urban district with a vibrant transportation hub situated at its core, the program must create the ability to: drive value for Amtrak, design a great project, provide significant customer amenities, create strong partnerships, and create Self‐fund improvement.
The scope of the anticipated Master Development plan will include certain Phase1 project elements, the redevelopment and expansion of station retail and amenities, the redevelopment of the Headhouse (including the Great Hall and upper floors), and the development of the Amtrak-owned parking garage and air rights properties.
After sharing the detailed process of the Master Developer Partnership including the RFI, RFP, and RFQ, Lang congratulated the companies selected. CCAC member, Riverside Investment Development is the master developer of the Amtrak redevelopment plan. Riverside’s early proposal summary of the 3.1 million SF development consists of three phases: headhouse and concourse, garage parcel, and train shed air rights. There is an aggressive timeline for the plan. Construction could start mid 2018 depending on permitting coming into place.
“From Amtrak’s perspective, Lang stated, it’s not about shiny new towers, it’s about the transportation function at Chicago’s Union Station. The most important thing that happens every day, isn’t that people report to work there; It’s that people use the station as a means of getting from point a to point b. This comprehensive plan involving Amtrak, Metra and CTA preserves future footprints and operations.” Lang hopes this development deal is transformative for the City and helps respond to the growing needs of the loop in the next century.
 CCAC Audience at The Tortoise Club for the September 12th Lunch.
Next CCAC Meeting:                                       
Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at Roosevelt University
Join us at Roosevelt University on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 for the next CCAC meeting hosted by Collete English Dixon, Executive Director, Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate, Walter E. Heller, College of Business. 
(Reminder: Monthly lunches are for CCAC members in good standing and their guests)

Steven Fifield

Chairman and CEO

Fifield Companies 



Tuesday, October 10, 2017



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



Walter E. Heller

College of Business

Roosevelt University

425 S. Wabash Avenue

Chicago, IL 60605



Collete English Dixon

Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate

Kelly O'Brien at

“Make no Small Plans":
How City Initiatives are Changing 
Downtown and Nearby Neighborhoods; 
What They're Doing that Could Derail It All"

Mr. Fifield will explore the unintended consequences of real estate tax increases, bonus density fees, ARO law (and its abuse by several aldermen), proposed MBE/WBE on all new PUD's, Neighborhood Development Initiatives, and lack of minority job participation in current real estate boom.
His remarks will address how underfunded pensions and a decrease in population from poorer neighborhoods are impacting the City, including new residential development downtown.
The conversation will also include comments about whether there is a better way to fix things without jeopardizing the nascent high paying tech/financial jobs boom and in migration of Millennials.
Don't Miss the Sprint Reception and Team Presentations
RSVP Today!
CCAC has a long history of organizing charrettes. The 2017 Charrette/Sprint is 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 will participate in a three day sprint and will unveil their visions for enriching the existing community. Please join us for the reception and team presentations on Friday, September 29th beginning at 4:30 pm at Forum Studio, 35 East Upper Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60601.
For more information and to RSVP, e-mail Shalora Jasper at
Member Spotlight:
Chicago Tribune Article Highlights PORT Urbanism
Andrew Moddrell, partner at PORT Urbanism, a firm that specializes in urban planning, helped create the plaza designs at Paulina station and Ashland Avenue for the proposed Low-Line project. This project aims to transform land owned by the CTA into a pedestrian walkway connecting the neighborhood.
“We are not under the illusion that people will linger,” Moddrell said. “It’s a place that you move through like the 606. It’s intended to be used as a connection, that’s what we are after here.”
CLICK HERE to read the article titled, "Group Releases Plans for Walkway Under Brown Line" posted in the Chicago Tribune on September 19, 2017.
Interested in Attending the 5th Annual Summit on Regional Competitiveness?
For more information, please contact Executive Director, Kelly O'Brien at 
Date Change for the December CCAC Meeting
Please note the December meeting will be held on Thursday, December 14, 2017 beginning at 4:30 pm. More details to follow.
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