Chicago Central Area Committee

Chicago Central Area Committee CCAC is a coalition of business, institutions, and nonprofit organizations who all share an interest in supporting strategic planning for downtown Chicago.

The Chicago Central Area Committee (CCAC) is a diverse coalition of leading business, institutions, and nonprofit organizations who all share an interest in supporting strategic planning and development activities that strengthen our city’s competitive edge and enhance its urban quality of life. Since 1956, the CCAC has been an influential force in decisions that affect the future of Chicago. We have a nearly six-decade history of influencing strategic planning choices in Chicago and facilitating the discussion on challenging issues that affect the nation’s third-largest city. Since our founding in 1956, CCAC members have worked in partnership with the City of Chicago on every major comprehensive plan that has focused on the development of downtown Chicago, including most recently the 2009 Central Area Action Plan. Since 2013, in an effort to supplement the City of Chicago’s planning capacity, we have been engaged in an ongoing series of major initiatives based upon the chapter-by-chapter recommendations of the Central Area Action Plan aimed at identifying projects of merit and developing consensus to move them forward, including:
The Illinois Medical District Planning Charrette (November 2013): CCAC members held a planning charrette focusing on the Illinois Medical District (IMD) on Chicago’s Near West Side that resulted in recommendations for improvements to the IMD that were subsequently adopted by the Illinois Medical District Commission. Learn more
The Gary/Chicago International Airport Charrette (June 2014): In response to a special invitation from Gary, Indiana, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, leaders organized by CCAC and the Alliance for Regional Development participated in a special planning charrette focusing on the Gary/Chicago International Airport and undeveloped land in the surrounding area. Learn more
The Central Area Transportation Workshop (July 2014): Our invitation-only Central Area Transportation Workshop was a phenomenal success. Bringing together major transportation agencies, citywide nonprofits, and key developers to discuss ways to improve access to downtown, the workshop led to the launch of a major stakeholder steering committee to examine the potential for a Central Area Connector transit system to link together Navy Pier, the West Loop, and Museum Campus. Learn more
The Cook County Hospital Building Charrette (October 2014): CCAC members were also invited to participate in the Cook County Hospital Building Charrette. We more than adequately responded to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s request for ideas to re-develop the old Cook County Hospital building and adjacent land in the Illinois Medical District with a submission uniquely both infused with blue-sky ambitions and informed by the realities of the marketplace. Learn more
As we continue to broaden our membership base, we recognize that the business, institutions, and organizations that call Chicago home are always changing. Diversity is our strength, and today–as in 1956–we are committed to supporting strategic and wise planning decisions that improve the Central Area for the benefit of all Chicagoans.

Operating as usual

02/25/2021

Today is our executive director Kelly O'Brien's last day with the CCAC. Here is her farewell letter to membership. Kelly will be dearly missed!

Dear CCAC Members and Alliance Stakeholders,

It is bittersweet to write this note letting you know that I have accepted an offer to serve as the Chief Advocacy and Strategy Officer at the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance.

Thank YOU for all of the support you’ve shown me over the years. When I started as the Alliance for Regional Development (Alliance) President & CEO and the Chicago Central Area Committee (CCAC) Executive Director in 2012, it was a novel concept to lead two organizations and promote the concept of regional collaboration. We have come a long way and I am so proud of the work we have accomplished.

At the beginning of my tenure, on behalf of the Alliance, we applied for and received an EDA grant and raised the required matching funds from sources in the tri-state area (mega-region). We organized “working teams” in the four subject areas included in The Chicago Tri-State Metropolitan Area OECD Territorial Review and literally had hundreds of stakeholders involved with advancing cross jurisdictional collaborations.

Simultaneously, CCAC began restructuring and broadening its focus area and mission to be a civic organization where its members could engage in initiatives allowing them to “give back” based on their professional expertise. Understanding the importance of the healthcare sector to the economy, we came out of the box with a planning and visioning charrette at the Illinois Medical District. The next year, we were honored to be invited by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle to present ideas around repurposing the Old Cook County Hospital. Showcasing our alignment with the Alliance, CCAC, at the invitation of Mayor Karen Freeman Wilson, participated in creating long-term plans for the Gary/Chicago International Airport.

CCAC has a long history of advancing transportation plans. Together with the University of Illinois Chicago, Urban Transportation Center, we published a report addressing mobility issues with a proposed transit solution called “The Connector.” That work also led us to explore and create plans to unlock economic development via transportation options to the Obama Presidential Center.

The Burnham Council, CCAC’s emerging leader tier, led an effort to create a vision for the South Branch of the Chicago River, and our members provided expert guidance to take full advantage of development opportunities along this underappreciated waterway.

Another major highlight during my time includes the publication of the Central City Strategy for All of Chicago whitepaper. Led by CCAC member SOM, more than 60 members participated, and this important document raised the issues and provided solutions for better linking the City’s core with its neighborhoods. The first actionable project as a result of the white paper was the Corridor Revitalization Initiative. CCAC worked in partnership with World Business Chicago and community leaders with a focus on modernizing two block corridors within five selected neighborhoods.

Now, CCAC is continuing its neighborhood work and at the request of Chicago Department of Planning and Development Commissioner Cox, we are in the middle of round three of INVEST South/West RFP drafting. Team Overviews are on the CCAC website for round one and two, and round three teams will be recognized following the release of the new RFPs on March 30.

In addition, currently, CCAC is working closely with Mayor Lightfoot’s Office to provide both project management expertise and technical support for Chicago’s pandemic recovery plans via Forward Together Implementation (FTI). This effort includes four subcommittees, eight co-chairs and CCAC member firms providing technical/content drafting support.

In November of 2020, the Alliance in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago hosted the 7th Summit on Regional Competitiveness. Of course, we had to move to a virtual platform, and while we missed seeing each other live, we discovered that we were able to secure speakers from around the world and we tripled the size of our audience. In fact, we made history by having Mayor Lightfoot (Chicago), Mayor Barrett (Milwaukee) and Mayor Prince (Gary) on a joint panel. It was the first time the three spoke publicly together and they pledged their support for regional collaborations. Today the Alliance is planning a Midwest Center for Innovation that will knit together business, government, academic, and foundation leaders in a virtual and actual network that will marshal a number of the Midwest’s assets around digital innovation and workforce development.

As you can see, both organizations have many accomplishments to celebrate and have been very active.

Looking ahead, although I am transitioning into my new role and relocating to North Carolina, I will stay involved as a resource to the two organizations, particularly for the Forward Together Implementation (FTI) project and its co-chairs, the CCAC technical teams, subcommittee members and of course, the Mayor’s Office. It is also my intention to attend as many meetings as possible and assist with the editing of the final report.

CCAC Chairman Greg Hummel is very involved and assisted by Alliance/CCAC staff, Clint W. Sabin and Nira Harikrishnan, as well as so many CCAC members, all of whom are committed to meeting and exceeding the goals of the work underway. Andrew Broderick, Urban Design, Perkins and Will, as well as CCAC Burnham Council President, will step in as the FTI Senior Project Manager.

I want to thank both the leadership of the Chicago Central Area Committee and the Alliance for Regional Development. The talent and on-going commitment to the organizations is extraordinary. I’d like to express my gratitude to Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner for providing office space, access to conference rooms, general service support, and the ability to interact with truly brilliant lawyers and paralegals. It was always a pleasure to “go to work” and I never imagined that when I left the office last March, assuming I’d be back the next day, I would not be returning.

There are no words to properly convey how grateful I am to have worked with my two Chairmen, Greg Hummel and Paul Jones. Both have special places in my heart, and I know how lucky I am to have them as mentors and friends.

If you are reading this, please know that everything I did and that was accomplished was because of you and your support. Chicago is home and it has been the honor of a lifetime to be a part of such meaningful work for the City I love and our important mega-region.

Yours in Public Service,

Kelly O'Brien
President and CEO, Alliance for Regional Development
Executive Director, Chicago Central Area Committee

01/18/2021
Check out our Executive Director Kelly O'Brien's new op-ed in Crain's Chicago Business- We need a multistate approach to...
12/11/2020
We need a multistate approach to fighting COVID

Check out our Executive Director Kelly O'Brien's new op-ed in Crain's Chicago Business- We need a multistate approach to fighting COVID.

Midwestern states must create a united front to allow access to a coordinated contact tracing app that allows for multistate notifications. Four Northeastern states are already doing it.

#Chicago #Illinois #CCAC #Kellyobrien #Covid_19

https://www.chicagobusiness.com/opinion/we-need-multistate-approach-fighting-covid

Midwestern states must create a united front to allow access to a coordinated contact tracing app that allows for multistate notifications. Four Northeastern states are already doing it.

Join us for an exciting conversation with Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee and Mayor Prin...
11/19/2020

Join us for an exciting conversation with Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee and Mayor Prince of Gary, IN in our forth day of the Summit for Regional Development.

You can register for free and join here:
https://lnkd.in/eVKTV6R

#Chicago #Summitforregionaldevelopment #economicdevelopment

Very insightful discussion with @todd McLees today at the Summit for Regional Competitiveness. Here are some of the slid...
11/17/2020

Very insightful discussion with @todd McLees today at the Summit for Regional Competitiveness. Here are some of the slides he shared:

Today is an exciting day at the 7th Annual Summit for Regional Competitiveness! This morning our CEO Kelly O'Brien will ...
11/17/2020
Home | Chicago Central Area Committee

Today is an exciting day at the 7th Annual Summit for Regional Competitiveness! This morning our CEO Kelly O'Brien will be chatting with Fortune 500 CEO Beth Ford at 9 AM and PR icon Richard Edelman at 10 AM.

Register and tune in here:
https://web.cvent.com/event/09269e35-02fd-4d6e-b091-fa2201a61201/regProcessStep1?rp=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000

Formed in 1956, The Chicago Central Area Committee (CCAC) has long been a driving force in shaping Chicago’s growth, equity and quality of place on behalf of our fellow citizens. CCAC is a public charitable trust legally constituted as an IRS approved not-for-profit.

11/16/2020
Personal Information - Summit on Regional Competitiveness

TODAY! We kick off the 2020 Summit on Regional Competitiveness

High Level Speakers--Free for you:
The Alliance for Regional Development, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, will host the 7th Annual Summit on Regional Competitiveness, A New Decade: Disruption, Driving Innovation, and Embracing Economic Change virtually, November 16th-20th, 2020.
This week-long event will include a series of panels and keynote speeches from more than 35 high-profile international, regional, and local thought leaders.
This event is free and open to the public.
Please find more information and register at https://cvent.me/mqnXzD

11/13/2020
Personal Information - Summit on Regional Competitiveness

MONDAY-FRIDAY next week:
The Alliance for Regional Development, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, will host the 7th Annual Summit on Regional Competitiveness, A New Decade: Disruption, Driving Innovation, and Embracing Economic Change virtually, November 16th-20th, 2020. This week-long event will include a series of panels and keynote speeches from more than 35 high-profile international, regional, and local thought leaders.

This event is free and open to the public.

Please find more information and register at https://cvent.me/mqnXzD

Mark your calendar for Tuesday, October 20th at 1:30pm CT. We will discuss the almost $6 million grant Purdue University...
10/15/2020
Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: Creating a Cybersecurity Hub: Purdue Northwest College of Technology commitment to building a viable tech entrepreneurship ecosystem in NWI & South Chicago. After registering, you will receive a...

Mark your calendar for Tuesday, October 20th at 1:30pm CT. We will discuss the almost $6 million grant Purdue University Northwest recently received from the National Security Agency (NSA) for cybersecurity workforce development, and how the University is creating a research & development, training, and commercialization hub. Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ItzLzv7fSXW3PuwMiPmM7w

Purdue North West (PNW) is creating a research & development, training, and commercialization hub as a major asset in the vision to catalyze a viable tech entrepreneurship ecosystem in NWI & South Chicago. The College received nearly $6 million as a grant from the National Security Agency (NSA) in S...

Today!Susana Mendoza, Illinois Comptroller, will be our 10/8 webinar speaker at 1:30pm.  Interested in the fiscal pictur...
10/07/2020
Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: Driving Fiscal Recovery Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Conversation with Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar.

Today!
Susana Mendoza, Illinois Comptroller, will be our 10/8 webinar speaker at 1:30pm. Interested in the fiscal picture for Illinois? Register now!

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ofxWtnjmTwCIcPWx5wljgQ

Illinois has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding economic recession. During these times of fiscal crisis, Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza has been an advocate for stability, comprehensive budget solutions, and transparent financial reporting. Over her tenure she....

The Affordable Care Act and the case in front of the Supreme Court will the the subject of today's 10/6 webinar at 1:30p...
10/06/2020
Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: Gutting the ACA in the new Supreme Court term?. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar.

The Affordable Care Act and the case in front of the Supreme Court will the the subject of today's 10/6 webinar at 1:30pm. Learn the facts about the case and get your questions answered! Register now:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_DFa00S62QCCdNY8KUNRjfw

Mark Rust will discuss the issues the U.S. Supreme Court will decide this term, the impact of a new justice on the case, and why “gutting the ACA” is highly unlikely – under this or any Court.

Are you interested in hearing the truth about the Affordable Care Act and what to expect with the Supreme Court? We have...
10/05/2020
Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: Gutting the ACA in the new Supreme Court term?. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar.

Are you interested in hearing the truth about the Affordable Care Act and what to expect with the Supreme Court? We have an expert, Mark Rust, on our 10/6 webinar at 1:30pm ready to answer your questions...Register now:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_DFa00S62QCCdNY8KUNRjfw

Mark Rust will discuss the issues the U.S. Supreme Court will decide this term, the impact of a new justice on the case, and why “gutting the ACA” is highly unlikely – under this or any Court.

Today, 9/30 at 2:30pm webinar:Broken Connections: How Amtrak’s Long-Distance Service Cutbacks Will Strand Rural AmericaU...
09/30/2020
Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: Broken Connections: How Amtrak’s Long-Distance Service Cutbacks Will Strand Rural America. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar.

Today, 9/30 at 2:30pm webinar:
Broken Connections: How Amtrak’s Long-Distance Service Cutbacks Will Strand Rural America
Unless Congress provides necessary additional funding by Sept. 30, on Oct. 1, Amtrak will cut service on almost all of its long-distance routes from daily to three days per week until ridership recovers sufficiently – as measured by its internal metrics and COVID-19-related developments – enough to restore service. This move will strand thousands of riders in hundreds of communities, many of whom have no other transportation services available, and have a huge direct impact on our states’ economies. Hear more about the potential impact of these cuts, and how you can help, from two officers of the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission (MIPRC). Please Register Now:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_zDarC1dkT5ONxkCMPaUnFw

Unless Congress provides necessary additional funding by Sept. 30, on Oct. 1, Amtrak will cut service on almost all of its long-distance routes from daily to three days per week until ridership recovers sufficiently – as measured by its internal metrics and COVID-19-related developments – enough...

Today 9/29 at 1:30pm hear from the Chicago Loop Alliance CEO about the "State of Downtown."  Register now:https://us02we...
09/29/2020
Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: The State of the Chicago Loop. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar.

Today 9/29 at 1:30pm hear from the Chicago Loop Alliance CEO about the "State of Downtown." Register now:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_M2KX1P2kSBKC2ts1U5CRMQ

The combination of COVID-19, the resulting economic crisis, and increased social unrest have presented real challenges for the Chicago Loop. Personal health concerns, massive job losses, and the fear of violence have dramatically impacted how the Loop operates today and has clouded its future. Learn...

Looking forward to my conversation 9/29 at 1:30pm CT with the Chicago Loop Alliance! Register today to hear about what's...
09/28/2020
Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: The State of the Chicago Loop. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar.

Looking forward to my conversation 9/29 at 1:30pm CT with the Chicago Loop Alliance! Register today to hear about what's open downtown and plans for Chicago's recovery.

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_M2KX1P2kSBKC2ts1U5CRMQ

The combination of COVID-19, the resulting economic crisis, and increased social unrest have presented real challenges for the Chicago Loop. Personal health concerns, massive job losses, and the fear of violence have dramatically impacted how the Loop operates today and has clouded its future. Learn...

Join me today 9/24 at 1:30pm CT and meet One Region's new leader!https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_f-ecM_jTSuS...
09/24/2020
Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: Midwest Renaissance & One Region’s New Opera-Singing Chief Executive. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar.

Join me today 9/24 at 1:30pm CT and meet One Region's new leader!

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_f-ecM_jTSuS68dC4d_pDVA

In the midst of a period of dramatic upheaval, unrest, and extraordinary hardship, seeds are beginning to sprout that may grow into the dynamic renewal of areas left behind in previous economic expansions. Meet Matt Wells, the new interim CEO of One Region, as he shares how his personal story as an....

Are you a business owner or an entrepreneur? Today's 9/17 webinar will provide insights into KEEPING YOUR BUSINESS IN BU...
09/17/2020
Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: Pandemic Survival and Recovery for Business Owners. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar.

Are you a business owner or an entrepreneur? Today's 9/17 webinar will provide insights into KEEPING YOUR BUSINESS IN BUSSINESS! Register now and join us at 1:30pm CT

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_OALBJuXGQHadwd606DRNSA

Business owners will discover resources to help their business survive the pandemic and build a toolbox for a successful recovery. These experts will share how SBA programs and services can assist business owners in finding the right track through economic challenges. Attendees will learn: -How to c...

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