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February 3, 2021

Convention Season Heating Up In 2021, But Slow Vaccine Rollout Could Upend It Again

[Webinar] Belgravia Group, Parkside Realty & West Loop Community Organization Talk The Future Of Chicago's Trendiest Neighborhood Feb. 25

After a dismal year that saw the cancellation of nearly all conventions, Chicago’s hospitality industry has finally started to feel some hope. McCormick Place has a packed convention schedule for the second half of 2021, which normally would fill up the city’s hotels with nearly 1 million travelers.

Much of the hope springs from the development of vaccines, which scientists say can eventually halt the spread of COVID-19. But the slow pace of actual vaccinations has left the hospitality industry in limbo. Unless the pace picks up, another wave of cancellations could happen again, pushing even a partial recovery back to 2022.

Convention Season Heating Up In 2021, But Slow Vaccine Rollout Could Upend It Again

“We’re swimming through untested waters here, so it’s hard to get a handle on where things are going with any certainty,” said Maverick Hotels & Restaurants CEO Bob Habeeb, whose 222-room Curio Hotel on Chicago’s Navy Pier had its opening day pushed back from last fall to March due…

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Financing Green Property Improvements In Chicago Is About To Get Easier

Some landlords may consider energy-efficient infrastructure to be expensive, but a low-cost financing program for such improvements is available in more than 30 states, and Chicago’s program, which launched in April 2019, is about to expand.

Called Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy, or C-PACE, it allows owners and developers to access long-term financing from private capital that pays for green systems, creating long-term savings on energy and water costs.

Financing Green Property Improvements In Chicago Is About To Get Easier

“Up to this point, it’s been a pilot program,” Loop Capital Managing Director Jana Wesley said last week during Bisnow’s Chicago Deep Dish: C-PACE webinar. The company, in a joint venture with Counterpointe Energy Solutions, administers the city’s C-PACE program on behalf of the Chicago Department…

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Origin Stories: GI Stone Owner Sandya Dandamudi Carved Out A Niche In CRE Development

Origin Stories: GI Stone Owner Sandya Dandamudi Carved Out A Niche In CRE Development  

This series delves into the myriad ways people enter the commercial real estate industry and what contributes to their success.

Sandya Dandamudi is the second-generation owner of GI Stone, a Chicago-based firm that sources, fabricates and installs custom stone for clients nationwide. Her experience with stone started at a young age when she accompanied her mother, Rani, on interior design projects. In 1995, her mother founded GI Stone, and Dandamudi joined the company — eventually taking the helm when her mother retired. No matter the challenges of running a business, Dandamudi said her motto remains constant: “Stone is the boss.”

Based in Chicago’s Hubbard Street industrial district, GI Stone recently completed the stonework on several high-profile projects including One Bennett Park, Optima Signature, NEXT Apartments, No. 9 Walton, Fulton East and the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago.

Dandamudi isn’t content to simply run a successful company. As a member of the River North Residents Association, a nonprofit advocacy organization for the River North neighborhood, she encourages local developers to support the pre-apprenticeship training program run by Saint Paul Church of God in Christ Community Development Ministries Inc. at 4550 South Wabash Ave. on Chicago’s South Side. Her goals are to help create a steady pipeline of new stoneworkers, to provide opportunities for those from underprivileged backgrounds and to help improve minority representation within the stone trade.

Bisnow: How did you get introduced to CRE? Dandamudi: Construction and design have always been in my blood. My mother was an interior designer, and my father was a structural engineer, so I grew up hearing about form versus function my whole life. After high school, I got a degree…

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Industrious Set To Take Over 1M SF Of Its Competitors' Abandoned Space This Year

Industrious Set To Take Over 1M SF Of Its Competitors' Abandoned Space This Year  

Coworking operators that lease space are going bankrupt and backing out of leases as they survive the coronavirus pandemic, leaving landlords with suddenly unspoken-for coworking spaces in a brutal office leasing market.  Industrious — which signs management contracts to operate coworking spaces for landlords, not…

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Hackers Are Coming For Property Managers' New IoT Systems

The use of connected building technology is exploding amid the coronavirus pandemic, forcing property owners and managers to find more ways to provide services to residents without face-to-face interaction. But as adoption of the Internet of Things has grown, awareness of its security risks hasn’t kept pace.

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Ghost Kitchens Look Ahead, Plan For Post-Pandemic Life

 

It is no secret that the coronavirus pandemic kicked the demand for food delivery into overdrive. But across the country, some of the biggest names in virtual kitchens — delivery-focused kitchens that house multiple brands and don't always have a customer-facing element — are already making plans for what will happen once the dust settles.

For companies like Pasadena-based Kitchen United and the Sam Nazarian-led C3, which predated the surge in delivery, the pandemic offered a chance to speed up timelines for expansion. But as vaccinations rise and the economy begins to re-emerge, questions are swirling over how the current construct will evolve to survive beyond the delivery boom. 

Forming a connection between customers and the food brands they order from is something that has been an increasing focus for many of the big names in virtual kitchens. The idea of a big kitchen housing multiple brands and focusing purely on delivery production — how the concept of virtual kitchens emerged at first — is, like the rest of the food industry, adapting. 

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Bisnow Is Looking For CRE Innovators

Bisnow Is Looking For CRE Innovators  

Bisnow is putting together a series featuring the people and companies in commercial real estate who found a way to break new ground in the industry during the coronavirus pandemic. This could take many forms: perhaps a company using new forms of financing or design, a person at the forefront of driving diversity in…

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