IllinoisCRE Opening Speakers for 16th Annual Forecast Announced; RE Journals Line-up Includes Healey, Zopp, Letchinger, Swanson and Crown November 8, 2017 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share via email Planners of the 16th Annual Commercial Real Estate Forecast Conference have announced the line-up of panelists for the event’s keynote opening panel, Chicago: A Focus on 2020 and Beyond. The keynote panel will kick-off the Forecast Event on Wednesday, January 17, 2018. The panel will look at what the City has to offer, as well as the challenges it faces as it continually strives to improve its positioning as a World Class City capable of luring businesses, workers and residents to the city limits. Panelists include: •Lori Healey, currently the president of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) and a former mayoral chief of staff; •Andrea Zopp, now transitioning to her new role as president of World Business Chicago after serving as a deputy Mayor; •Jim Letchinger, founder of JDL Development, which recently unveiled plans for One Chicago Square, a residential development slated for ta site adjacent to Holy Name Cathedral that could have as many as 900 units •Kent Swanson, Executive Vice President of Riverside Investment & Development and Chairman of the Civic Federation of Chicago; and •Keating Crown, Principal, Sterling Bay Companies, which initially launched the transformation of the West Loop and is now targeting other areas of the City. The keynote discussion is particularly timely as last month Chicago submitted an impressive proposal to Amazon in consideration for the Seattle-based firm’s HQ2. While no announcements have been made and no timetable has been given, Chicago is expected to be among the top contenders for Amazon’s HQ2 which could create as many as 50,000 jobs and generate $5 billion in investment. While the impact of attracting Amazon would be significant for Chicago on many different fronts, the City already has an impressive track record for attracting corporate and regional headquarter facilities—and not just those relocating from Chicago’s suburbs. “From its emergence as a center for technology and innovation to a dynamic and highly sought-after workforce, Chicago has much to offer any business, large or small,” said Mark Menzies, Group Publisher, RE Journals, the organizer of the Forecast. “At the same time, the city, like most across the country is not without its challenges.” Menzies said the panel will take a candid look at the opportunities and the challenges, offering perspectives on how to strengthen those areas that already are at the cornerstone of what the City has to offer while also adding its ideas on key issues that are hurdles to broader success. The 16th Annual Commercial Real Estate Forecast will feature two additional general session panels. •The always popular State of the Market panel will bring together a mix of commercial real estate professionals—prominent developers, owners, brokers and capital sources—for an in-depth look at the issues and trends that are most impacting the news in commercial real estate in Chicago and across the country. •E-Commerce: Fight It or Flaunt It, will more closely examine the ways the various commercial and residential sectors are embracing the forces of e-commerce which can change the way developers, owners and users evaluate space. The 16th Annual Forecast event will take place at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. More information about the conference—including how to register and sponsorship opportunities that are available, can be found at www.rejournals4cast.com.