I had the pleasure on June 8 to facilitate the beginning of a retail attraction strategic planning process initiated by Alderman Michael Zalewski and some of his constituents. Alderman Zalewski contacted the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) initially, and IRMA in its partnership with the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and CommercialForum organized a meeting with Alderman Zalewski to discuss his constituents' concerns about attracting national and regional restaurants and retailers to the Garfield Ridge, West Lawn, West Eldson and Clearing neighborhoods.
At that meeting, Alderman Zalewski asked if I'd lead a discussion of retail and restaurant attraction strategies with some of the ward residents. Joined by CAR member Zeke Flores and ICSC Illinois Governmental Affairs Committee member Jesal Patel, we reviewed best practices with the alderman, Congressman Dan Lipinski's chief-of-staff, and eight residents.
Using REALTORS Property Research Commercial data and maps, and portions of the Retail 1-2-3 handbook, we walked the residents through the retail and restaurant attraction process, sharing concepts like leakage analysis, trade areas, and sales cannibalization. CommercialForum suggested that the alderman and residents begin to develop a retail/restaurant strategic planning process and marketing plan, aiming for completion in time to work the ICSC Chicago Deal Making trade show in early October.
The meeting with Alderman Zalewski is the latest in a series of meetings CommercialForum has had with other Chicago aldermen in recent months. We are working diligently to position CommercialForum as a resource for City Council members to use for economic development in their wards.