CCAC eNews
September 2018
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 2018 Meeting Calendar!
The CCAC 2018 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 Choose Chicago
CCAC would like to thank board member Douglas Voigt, Partner, Urban Design and Planning, and Christopher Hall, Urban Strategy Leader for hosting CCAC’s monthly luncheon on Tuesday, September 11th. The membership heard from David Whitaker, President & CEO, at Choose Chicago, the official destination marketing organization for City.  He explained the process of bringing regional, national and international business and leisure visitors to Chicago.
Presenting his remarks alongside a visual presentation, attached to this article, Whitaker shared organizational information on Choose Chicago. The audience heard about the over 1,500 partners ranging from hotels, vendors, restaurants, and community groups. While discussing the annual report for Choose Chicago, Whitaker shared that the biggest benefactor of the organization is the State of Illinois and that strong partnerships exist with the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) and the Department of Aviation.
Working with the MPEA, Choose Chicago, is involved with many of the conventions that are hosted in Chicago. “There were over 47 meetings that were planned this year and over half of them had record attendance. That’s important because many people have expressed concern about whether visitors would be afraid to come to Chicago.  Fortunately, that’s not what the data is showing,” said Whitaker. He continued, “In fact, attainable goals for convention sales in Chicago include a 5% growth in hotel room/nights booked, a continued new client/customer focus, an increase lead volume by 15%, and solidify success for major clients and partners.”
(L:R) Greg Hummel, Partner, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner; David Whitaker, President & CEO, Choose Chicago; and Douglas Voigt, Partner, Urban Planning and Design, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP.
Douglas Voigt, Partner, Urban Design and Planning, and Christopher Hall, Urban Strategy Leader both of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP addressing the September 11th CCAC luncheon audience. 
Choose Chicago celebrated when Forbes Magazine mentioned that Chicago is the “coolest city.” Whitaker mentioned, “We are still perceived as an undiscovered city and there’s some good to that. The idea of historic Chicago, that was known for, hot dogs, pizza, Al Capone, Michael Jordan, the modern Friday city is so important. There is an image perception that we’re trying to turn around and we are doing this in part by hosting journalists.” In 2017, Choose Chicago hosted journalists and generated $37 million dollars in free advertising.
Key benchmarks for Choose Chicago include increasing the number of international and domestic leisure visitors to Chicago. According to Whitaker, “77% of domestic leisure visitors to Chicago originate in the surrounding 10 neighboring Midwest states. Its good because they know us well; However, it’s bad because we’re overdependent on these states. It would be nice if we can have more visitors from Boston or New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.” Whitaker continued, “Visitors who are more diverse and sophisticated tend to stay longer and spend more on theatre, nice restaurants, shops, etc. The more sophisticated and affluent customer means a bigger bottom line for our industry.” In the last three years, the City has opened 26 hotels to accommodate more visitors. “What that means is more pressure on the City, but we’re feeling great about the value and volume.” According to Whitaker, the revenue that hotels generate based on the visitor’s expenses total to roughly $526 million dollars annually.
Choose Chicago announced a record year in 2017. There was a 6% growth in overnight visitors, and an overall growth of 4.4% for day trips to Chicago. 
Highlighting fun facts about Chicago, Whitaker shared the following:
  • Known as the fun city in the Midwest, Chicago has more Millennials than any other cities, followed by the GenXers trailing closely.
  • Chicago is growing the market share of the young family, affluent family, and affluent mature visitors because they spend more and stay longer. Also, there is more interest from them being in the City.
  • According to the Chicago Visitor Activity Index, 4x as many people come to Chicago for a wedding than the national average.
  • Through lots of surveying, the top 3 leisure activities for the City of Chicago include: visiting friends/relatives (general visit), culinary/dining experience, and shopping.
The current campaign for the City of Chicago is “Welcome Home”. Whitaker expressed, “Home is not just where you’re from; home is where you fit right in and feel welcome and we’re one of the most welcoming cities in the world.” Choose Chicago integrates this theme into its 9 platforms: food & culinary, theatre, culture & entertainment, music, attractions, art & architecture, LGBTQ, sports & urban recreation, and meetings & conventions.
Choose Chicago is partnering with the City to make 2019 the year of theatre. “It’s not just what’s on the stage, it’s the neighborhoods, it’s going to restaurants for dinner before and after,” Whitaker expressed. There are over 250 stages in the city and Choose Chicago is planning to develop a special program highlighting these gems, funded in large measure by foundation grants.
Whitaker explained that regardless of your expertise in marketing, at the end of the day, when someone visits Chicago, you want them to say, “I had no idea this was here!”
Concluding his remarks, Whitaker stated his desire to work more closely with CCAC and said, “I aspire to help create a Chicago that exceeds expectations. A great place to visit must first be a great place to live, work and play.”
CLICK HERE to view the PowerPoint Presentation from the September 11 Luncheon.
 September 11th CCAC Luncheon audience
Next CCAC Meeting:                                       
Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at Taste 222
Thomas D. McElroy II
Principal & CEO
Level-(1) Global Solutions
Scott Goodman
Farpoint Development
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
Taste 222
222 N. Canal Street
Chicago, IL 60606
Kelly O'Brien at 

"Farpoint Industries and Chicago"
Scott Goodman serves as the founding principal of Farpoint Development. With a lifetime of experience in real estate development focusing on investor relations, procurement of financing and equity and transaction structuring, he serves as the foundation for the company. Scott’s deep insight into projects comes from involvement at each step of the process. His practical and academic knowledge results in a track record of unending success across all asset classes and market cycles.
Join us as we hear first-hand from Goodman on how Farpoint Development is the product of 30-plus years’ experience in creating some of Chicago’s most iconic and game-changing commercial office projects.
2018 Sprint: The Chicago River
Reserve Your Seat for the October 5th "Reveal and Reception"
You're invited to attend the 2018 River Sprint: Reveal and Reception on Friday, October 5th, beginning at 5:00 pm, in the offices of Perkins + Will, 410, N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1600, Chicago. The multidisciplinary teams will present their final ideas and design concepts that address equity and access on the south branch of the Chicago River. Food and beverages will be provided.
For more information and to RSVP to attend the reception, please e-mail Shalora Jasper,
Highlights from Day 1 of the 2018 CCAC River Sprint
The CCAC Young Leaders 2018 Sprint kicked off on Thursday, September 20th in the office of Perkins+ Will. The forty plus team participants heard from leaders with expertise on the Chicago River. The panelists included:
  • Josh Ellis, Vice President, Metropolitan Planning Council
  • John Quail, Director of Watershed Planning, Friends of the Chicago River
  • Joanna Trotter, Senior Program Officer, Economic Development, Chicago Community Trust
  • Richard Wilson, City Design Director, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
The Sprint will conclude on Friday, October 5th. See above for information on attending the "Reveal and Reception."
CCAC Member Spotlight:
PORT Urbanism Celebrates Phase 1 Completion of Lakeview Low-Line
In 2017, CCAC member, PORT Urbanism, was awarded the commission by the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce (SSA #27) to lead the design of key nodes to establish design guidelines, alignment and a long-term strategy for the Lakeview Low-Line project. The Low-Line is an underutilized right-of-way and CTA maintenance vehicle route under the CTA Brown Line elevated train tracks that is informally used by the neighboring community, most commonly as a short-cut to and from the Paulina CTA station. The long-term Low-Line project intends to transform this space into a continuous, half-mile long art walk and garden beneath the CTA ‘L’ tracks, allowing it to become a new community amenity and unique connector between the Lincoln Ave. and Southport commercial corridors.

The first phase of the project was completed in the summer of 2018, which was primarily focused on the Paulina Plaza as the west anchor of the Low-Line. The Paulina Plaza called for a new take on public furnishing that takes into account the need for an overhead cover, sound mitigation, additional lighting, and seating and vending.
On September 28, 2018, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, City Officials, and PORT Urbanism celebrated the completion of phase 1 with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
For more information, please visit PORT Urbanism's website,
CCAC Member Spotlight:
Launch of Art on theMART
On September 29, 2018, CCAC member "theMART" and the City of Chicago, welcomed the public to experience Art on theMART for the first time.
The inaugural program began on Wacker Dr. between N. Wells St. and N. Franklin St., and the public enjoyed a live DJ, Lantern Procession presented by LUMA8, and a 35 minute program culminating in a one-minute pyrotechnic display.
Following the launch event, the projections will be displayed up to two hours a night, five days a week (Wednesday – Sunday), for ten months of the year (March – December). Projections will be visible to the public from Wacker Dr. and along the Chicago Riverwalk. The City of Chicago and The MART will work in partnership to manage and curate the projected artwork over the course of a 30-year agreement.
Privately funded by Vornado Realty Trust, owner of theMart, Art on theMART marks the first time a projection of its size and scope will be completely dedicated to digital art with no branding, sponsorship credits or messaging. 
The Terra Foundation for American Art is an inaugural launch partner of Art on theMART, commissioning Chicago-based artists to create two of the project’s first digital artworks to be presented as part of Art Design Chicago, a yearlong celebration of Chicago’s art and design legacy in 2018. 
For more information, please visit,
October 29th Alliance Summit on Regional Competitiveness
The Alliance for Regional Development will host the 6th Annual Summit on Regional Competitiveness with and at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago on  Monday, October 29, 2018.
This year, the 8:00am-2:30pm program has many highlights and not-to-be-missed presentations by:
  • OECD
  • Foxconn Technology Group
  • Rexnord Corporation
  • U.S. Steel Corporation
  • Higher Education Leaders
  • and more
Confirmed speakers include:
  • Todd Adams, Rexnord Corporation
  • Bryan Albrecht, Gateway Technical College
  • Jeremiah P. Boyle,  Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
  • Jonathan Delagrave, Racine County, Wisconsin
  • Anne Edmunds, ManPowerGrou[
  • Charles Evans, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
  • Deborah Ford, University of Wisconsin-Parkside
  • Karen Freeman-Wilson, City of Gary, Indiana
  • Paul Jones, Alliance for Regional Development
  • Rebekah Kowalski, Right Management, ManPowerGroup
  • Michael Lovell, Marquette University
  • Karen Maguire, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
  • Mark Mone, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Kelly O'Brien, Alliance for Regional Development
  • Violet Sistovaris, NIPSCO/NiSource
  • R. Carter Smith, Spartanburg Economic Futures Group
  • Jenny Trick,  Racine County Economic Development Corporation
  • Paul Vercher, United States Steel Corporation
  • Joseph Von Nessen, University of South Carolina
  • Louis Woo, Foxconn Technology Group
This is an invitation-only event and you must personally respond to the electronic invitation.  It cannot be forwarded  or transferred. For information on how to be added to the guest list and if you would like others in your network to be invited, please contact Shalora Jasper at
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