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Feeling the Thaw
February 14, 2011
Although spring is quite a way out, this week marks what feels like the beginning of the thaw in Chicago.
The giant snow walls left by the blizzard of Groundhog Day are shrinking and turning a dull grey. Pavement is clear on streets that were caked with buried cars last week, and the melting run-off is starting to stream into the city sewers. Over the next few days if all goes right we may be ankle-deep in slush!
In a week we will be at the polls electing a new Mayor for the first time in many, many years. Many Aldermanic seats are open; in a month, there will be a different looking City Council to help shape the economic recovery that is inevitably coming. Whether it will be a quantum shift or a a slight variation on business as usual remains to be seen. The one thing we know for sure is that it will be different from what we have today.
I believe that our current Mayor would love to resolve the airport conflict with the major carriers, insure the future of Taste of Chicago, and set sign posts along the way for the new team to come. Maybe he will be successful; maybe he won’t. It appears that the downtown commercial Real Estate markets in Chicago have dodged a bullet — rentals are creeping up and vacancy rates are slowly drifting down. Maybe some of those development projects that have been on the boards for two years will start to see the light of day.
Spring will bloom, signs will change, and the business community in Chicago will respond. It will be interesting!