Fifth Third Bank has announced a plan to invest $20 million in South Chicago, the defunct steel town abandoned by the departure of the South Works steel plant in 1992.
The investment plan includes $2 million in funding for grassroots efforts and $18 million in financing for residential and business loans. Fifth Third’s efforts, in partnership with Claretian Associates, are part of a three-year revitalization scheme to revive the area and correct extended periods of disinvestment and under-funding.
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon, held this year on the weekend of October 8-10, gave Chicago’s hotels and restaurants a critical boost in business. After 18 challenging months of coronavirus-related restrictions, the city’s dining and hospitality businesses are finally seeing some relief as they served the nearly 26,000 marathon participants.
The run was the first of the American Abbott World Marathon Majors to officially return to in-person racing. Race organizers worked with the Chicago municipal officials, including the Chicago Department of Public Health, to ensure the safest possible experience for runners, spectators, and the Chicago community.
On October 1, Microsoft announced a new partnership with Chicago to provide free digital skills training courses for at least 300,000 residents.
“Accelerate Chicago,” is meant to boost the employability of Chicago citizens who either lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic or those who have few digital skills at all. It will also offer “cross-training” for those looking to pivot their career paths. Accelerate includes free courses on several Microsoft applications and programs.
Lori Lightfoot, Mayor of Chicago, explained that the new program will allow the city to remedy the “socioeconomic fallout” of the COVID-19 pandemic by offering participants “good-paying, sustainable” jobs.
“We have an important opportunity to use this moment to better the lives of those who were struggling long before this pandemic ever struck.” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, at a news conference with Microsoft President Brad Smith.
Accelerate has already been launched in New York, Atlanta, Houston, and Louisville, Kentucky.
Entering Q3 of 2021, office rentals in downtown Chicago are beginning to fill up again. As businesses determine protocols for hybrid work models, more and more companies are seeking office space.
Chicago’s downtown firms leased 2.2 million square feet in Q3, nearly 20% more than 2020. Nevertheless, more than 20% of office space in downtown Chicago remained available for rent, mostly because tenants aren’t expecting to operate at full capacity and are not looking for big spaces. Some industry experts say that many of the leases being signed are for companies that gave up their rentals for the majority of 2020 and the beginning of this year. Lockdowns and cost-saving measures had these businesses working remotely; now they are looking to reopen an office and maintain a downtown presence.
The cost of rent also increased by 0.7%, with an average of $40.70 per square foot.