All posts by ChicagoAdmin

Market Expansion in Chicago

There are many opportunities in Chicago for those wishing to start a business, expand on their projects or move in a new entrepreneurial direction. This Friday is the Annual Food Policy Summit.  Taking place at the south Shore Culture Center, the event – from 9.30am to 5.pm – is organized by the Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC) in conjunction with the Detection and Classification of Acoustic Scenes and Events (DCASE).  Now in its 14th year, a series of workshops, food demos and resources will be available.  Click here for more information. 

Small business owners and will be able to learn how they can participate in the City Markets program as well as benefit from Chicago’s vending opportunities.

Next week on March 18, a workshop will be hosted by the Chicago City Markets Team, in conjunction with Logan Square Farmers Market and Bronzeville Boxville Market executives.  Discussions for new market applicants will be centered on how to find a market most appropriate for one’s needs.

In other Chicago business expansion news we see the movement of security integrator Security 101 opening a new office in Chicago.    It will be run by David Ritland who is both owner and president; a man who has expanded another company – The Sentral Group – to five American and one Mexican plant.  CEO of the firm, Steve Crespo said:

Chicago is an exciting market with a number of growing businesses and organizations needing quality integrated security to protect employees and assets. Dave and his team will be backed by the Security 101 organization and its other franchise offices.”

Infrastructure Issues

Chicago’s metro is in serious need of updating

Chicago – and actually the entire state of Illinois – needs more money for infrastructure.  currently, according to Illinois DOT acting secretary Matt Magalis, at least $39 billion is needed.  $13 -$15 billion of this would be used in the next decade just for highway maintenance.

Public transit isn’t looking all that good either; $19 billion is needed for that.  And state airports require an investment of $250 million.  A further $800 million is needed for passenger rail and $4 billion for freight rail.  and we haven’t even started talking about the huge amount of capital required to bolster highway capacity.

As Magalis explained:

“Our funding needs are great, but in order for us to drive our economy and our great state forward, we must invest in the maintenance and expansion of our multimodal system.”

Arcadis has been appointed principle contractor for the upgrade of Chicago’s metro red line. The project – valued at $102m – will be a joint project undertaken by Jacobs and Ardmore Roderick and the CTA.  Arcadis will lead the endeavor.  15.4km of track – currently over 100 years old – will be renovated.  this will hopefully lead to reduced need of maintenance which delays city commuters.  Red line stations at Argyle, Berwyn, Bryn Mawr and Lawrence will be completely reconstructed as part of the project. LeeAnn Tomas-Foster of Arcadis explained:

 “This project will improve rider experience, reduce overcrowding and help CTA meet rapidly growing demand for transit service in Chicago. We are honored to work with CTA to improve quality of life for Chicagoans.” 

This is a good start to the infrastructure problems of both the city and the state.

Chicago, IL and Minimum Wage: It’s Just Geography

Workers in Chicago – or those moving to the city – will be pleased to know that minimum wage is far from minimum.  While the state of Illinois has been stuck at $8.25 for the last 9 years, this year Chicago pushed its minimum wage up to $13! 

So how is this fact affecting the rest of the state of Illinois?  It seems it does not want to bow to pressure.  according to CEO and President of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, Rob Karr, Illinois should not be dictated to by Chicago.  At a recent meeting held by the Senate Labor Committee, Karr said:


“It’s something we all need to look at when we’re talking about … the economic diversity of this state and the fact that, the suburbs and downstate simply don’t enjoy the same economics [as Chicago].”

The argument that raising the minimum wage leads to less employment opportunities has largely been disproved, particularly within Chicago.  With the raise of the minimum wage in Chicago (a hike of 40 percent) unemployment in the windy city actually reached an all-time low of 3.6 percent!  indeed, in 2018 Chicago’s drop in unemployment was the highest out of America’s largest 10 cities.  Plus, an additional 72,000 jobs arrived in Chicago, causing it to have more jobs per capita than in the last 50 years.

Ford put a billion dollar investment into Chicago last week adding 500 manufacturing jobs while North Point also announced the creation of 1,300 new jobs. 

Raising the minimum wage is important.  Chicago has shown that it works too.

Black Restaurant Week 2019: Chicago

This year’s Black Restaurant Week (Chicago) took place last week, February 10-17.  In its fourth year, the event is designed to honor Dr. Carter G. Woodson who founded ‘Negro History Week’ back in 1926.  Half a century later that event became Black History Month and that finally led to the current restaurant week.

The idea behind the event was to establish an address for Chicago-based African American Owned Eateries to be “recognized and patronized.”

Last year the event featured 26 restaurants, whereby $11402 was spent at restaurants and 726 dinners served. The lineup for this year is featured here.

Chicagoans Helping Each Other

How is America’s longest-ever government shutdown impacting Chicagoans?  What are people doing to lessen the burden felt by locals?  In this article, we look at that specific issue as well as the more general problem of the city’s homeless population.

Companies in Chicago are helping people out by giving free lunches, tickets to the museum and even temporary employment.  Getting a free sandwich at the Adler Planetarium doesn’t pay the bills but it’s a nice gesture to help people get through their day. Meanwhile at Horse Thief Hollow – a restaurant catering to federal workers at Midway Airport – is featuring a shutdown special with a free lunch valued up to $15.

Meanwhile 34-year-old real estate developer Candice Payne decided to help the homeless.  Payne – whose own boyfriend was once homeless – was working from home one day when outside temperature was subzero.  That inspired her to find a way to help out.

She set out by contacting hotels to see if they would open their doors to the homeless.  After being turned down by many, she accessed 30 rooms at The Amber Inn.  Transporting the homeless there proved to be her next challenge so she turned to social media.  The post went viral and the end result was 72 rooms for 5 nights being booked, assisting 122 people thanks to numerous donations. 

They say one good deed deserves another so perhaps that was why Payne was invited to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres show where she received a $25,000 gift token for Walmart.

Improving the Plight of Minorities

For centuries people have been working in different capacities, in varied cities and countries, to improve the environment of where they are for the minorities living in them.  2019 and Chicago is apparently very less different than one would imagine.  here we take a little look as to what the city is doing currently in this vein.

according to The Reader’s, Pete Saunders:

“Chicago’s black population, the city’s largest demographic in 2000, has dropped by 24 percent through 2017, going from more than one million in 2000 to just under 800,000 in 2017. The number of whites in Chicago surpassed blacks in 2017, and Latinos will almost certainly pass blacks by the time of the 2020 census.”

Why is that?  Why are blacks leaving Chicago?  if this was not the case, the population of Chicago would actually be increasing. instead, there seems to be a move to places such as Atlanta, Dallas and Houston.

Is there perhaps discrimination against minorities?  according to Mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle, if voted in she will “bring equity to an overly punitive ticketing policy that has unfairly targeted minority motorists and forced thousands of them into bankruptcy. one part of her proposed policy will be the reversal of what she terms a punitive policy that (according to a Woodstock Institute study)  targets motorists in “low- and moderate- income communities of color” at a 40 percent higher rate than those from more affluent neighborhoods.  she would also set up a task force within her proposed Office of Criminal Justice to thoroughly investigate “the disparities between aggressive ticketing in black and brown communities and less-aggressive ticketing in white neighborhoods.”

Educationally efforts are being made to assist minority groups too. along with a few other universities nationwide, the University of Chicago extended its application deadline.  it was discovered by George Washington University that such an extension “helped reach more underrepresented minorities. The school received an additional 600 applications from African-American, Hispanic and first-generation college students after extending its deadline to Jan. 15 from Jan. 5.”  Hopefully the same will be true for Chicagoans.

Business Development and Job Creation

Business Development

Less than two weeks after J. B. Pritzker was inaugurated as Illinois’ 43rd governor, he guided a review to be conducted by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) on the enhanced efficiency of the use of state funds for workforce training.  The DCEO has 90 days for this project.  Pritzker said:

“It is critical that state resources are being used to meet the demands of the 21st Century,”

The idea is to offer new businesses capital, technical support and mentorship.  To date, 1871 – the nonprofit Business Incubator that Pritzker helped establish in 2012 – has already generated approximately 7,000 jobs as well as 400+ digital startups which are now in place in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.

And then there is the Illinois solar revolution that is taking place throughout various parts of the state’s open land.  Various communities are getting on board to use solar power in an effort to meet renewable energy goals.  One example of this is Aurora which is seeking to turn half of all energy to renewable within the next decade.  Will County’s Energy and Conservation Specialist, Sam Bluemer has described what is happening as “an energy revolution.”

The initiator for this was the 2017 Future Energy Jobs Act which was established – and has successfully – set up new solar programs and incentives.  One of these is the lottery whereby developers can apply in January for renewable energy credits often needed for viability of the projects and can be used for:

  1. Residential/commercial installations
  2. large, utility-scale solar arrays
  3. small-scale solar projects known as community solar.

Keep posted for more exciting developments in 2019 in Illinois.

Upcoming Summits

Summit

If you’re in Chicago looking to network, connect and join others in business-related summits, where should you go next month?  One place for those with green fingers is the meeting Adding Value:  Back to our Roots. Hosted by the National Floriculture Forum on 16-17 February, click here for more information.

On February 14 to 17th, the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) is hosting its 37th annual national conference.  This year’s theme is “Defend Democracy: Aquí y Ahora” and will take place at 301 E. North Water Street, at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Hotel.  Congressman Joaquin Castro will be one of the keynote speakers and Luis V. Gutierrez, a former congressman, will be a speaker for the Latino Leaders Recognition and USHLI.  For registration, click here.

On March 28,  there is the Family Office Deal Flow Summit organized by ResearchandMarket.com.  This is an amalgamation of family investors, dealmakers, private businesses and more.  At the one day summit they can all work on getting a mutually beneficial deal completed. Discussions and presentations that will take place will be on the following subjects:

  1. Build Your Family Office Co-Investment Network;
  2. Learn How to Structure Deals and
  3. Deal Flow & Due Diligence Best Practices.


Travels in Time

Terra Cotta

It’s amazing how much of real estate, environment and infrastructure changes over time…and yet stays very much the same.  At the moment one example of this is what has evolved over the years at West Oakdale Avenue. 

In 2005, a new landmark was designated in Chicago within the Lakeview neighborhood.  the area between Seminary and Sheffield Streets for locals and tourists alike to check out historical buildings.  Many years ago these were home to the Northwestern Terra Cotta Company officers founded in 1878 by John True and others which became the name in terra cotta trimmings.

one of those houses – completed in 1887 – was given the name the Henry Rokham House.  that became known as The Queen of Terra Cotta Row and in 2012 had a market value of nearly $2.5million.  Featuring stained glass windows, brick etchings of a woman on a spinning wheel, unique tile work, original coach house and more, it was designed by Theodore Karls.

now, for the first time in six decades one of these properties is for sale!!! The two floor building with four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, and two kitchens has a 1970s vintage feel to it.  back in its day it was known as “the absolute crème de la crème.”  now it can be yours for $699,000 to enjoy leopard print carpeting, condo sports and more.  It may be somewhat outdated and in need of some modernization but the location and the story it tells brings it more than charm.