A year in review: Progress report on CTA real estate deal

Just over a year ago, the CTA signed a five-year, $4.2 million contract with Jones Lang LaSalle. Its mission statement is to "efficiently manage the real estate and revenue generating assets of the CTA in order to increase revenues and improve operations for the benefit of riders and other stakeholders."

CTA concession stand.jpg

In 2008, the CTA had concession revenues of $2.8 million, with just over half coming from retail, while 34% came from ATM rentals, and 14% from vending machines. The CTA has 137 retail concession locations in 76 transit stations, ranging from 50 to 3,000 square feet. Now JLL's challenge is to increase the revenue and locations.

I was wondering, what has JLL done in the last year for the CTA and its riders? To answer that question, CTA Tattler asked key JLL and CTA staff, and reviewed a report JLL made to the board in August.

What JLL has accomplished in its first year

Jones Lang LaSalle Vice
President Sandra Greene lists these as the top accomplishments in its first year. (The report details many more.)

  • Asset management advances. This starts with building a database of all CTA locations for rent indicating their current status (whether rented or not, tenant name, etc.) "This didn't exist before, but now we have it and can easily query the database," said Greene.
  • Web site launch. Putting up the Web site helped JLL put its stake in the ground as the go-to place for information on leasing locations owned by the CTA. "Through the Web site, we get a lot of calls from interested  people," Greene said.

For instance, Greene said the previous day she got a call from a fellow
interested in placing a bin for laundry drops for employees at various
CTA locations, including offices, garages and rail terminals. No deal
has been made yet on that idea, but Greene says it shows that if you
build it (the Web site) people will come.

  • Selling surplus properties. JLL prepared invitations to bid on 13 surplus properties.
  • Issued RFPs for concessions. It did a review of all 144 rail stations and issued RFPs to bid on leases at 29 locations. More on that Tuesday.
  • Ramping up vending machine placements. JLL generated proposals from multiple vendors for "leading edge transit vending." 
  • Working to maximize ATM installations and revenues.
  • Pushing transit-oriented development. JLL did evaluations at 13 sites, and has two RFPs in place.

The 13 sites are Garfield (Green Line), Wilson (Red Line), Cermak (Green Line), Berwyn (Red Line), Linden (Purple Line), Forest Park (Blue Line), 79th and Halsted, Division (Blue Line), Loyola (Red Line), 1801 W. Grace, Belmont (Brown Line), Ashland63rd (Green Line), and Kimball (Brown Line).

All of these are modest first-year accomplishments that hopefully will set up JLL to bring in more concession revenues for the CTA in years to come.

On Tuesday, we'll look at JLL efforts to rent out more concession locations.


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  • I'm very interested in what they're doing differently at the transit-oriented development sites. Didn't see an RFP on their website that might explain more.

  • Sounds like a lot of money for little work.

  • The only thing that is going to prove their case is how much money the bring in vs what the CTA was doing as maintaining status quo. Bragging about anything else is going prove nothing.

  • Does that say "Cermak - Green Line"? How can they be trying to push TOD for a station that doesn't even exist (yet)?

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