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CHICAGO-The Chicago Transit Authority has hired Jones Lang LaSalle, based here, to increase revenue for the transit authority by adding concessions and retail to some station locations, as well as possibly redeveloping other stations and CTA-owned property. The term of the $4.2 million contract is five years.

Jones Lang LaSalle will focus on securing concessions and retailers at CTA stations, transit-oriented redevelopments of CTA properties and serving as the transit authority’s real estate broker, says Kurt Little, managing director for Jones Lang LaSalle. The CTA generated more than $6 million in revenue, in 2007, from CTA-owned property, including retail concessions, parking fees and office space. The CTA is hoping to earn as much as $100 million during the term of Jones Lang LaSalle’s contract from CTA-owned property. “Revenue generation is key as well as improving the concessions/retail product mix,” Little says.

The CTA has approximately 142 stations with about 500,000 people riding the CTA’s trains and buses daily, Little says. The number of riders is expected to increase as gas prices increase, he says. Jones Lang LaSalle will look into adding dry cleaners, restaurants and other retailers to stations such as possibly adding grocery stores to stations such as the Berwyn, Wilson and North/Clybourn stops of the Red Line. “You have got a built-in marketplace with the riders,” he says. Some stations already have concessions such as newspaper stands, coffee shops and Dunkin’ Donuts, Little says. As gas prices continue to remain high, riders will like the ability to shop and drop off dry cleaning without having to do extra driving, he says. The amenities will increase customer loyalty, which will increase revenue, in addition to the revenue generated from retailers leasing space or from ground leases, Little says.

Jones Lang LaSalle will also work on redeveloping underutilized space and “identify ways to create new space,” Little says. The CTA has a railway switching station at Midway Airport, over which a hotel and office space could be constructed, Little says. Currently, there are no hotels in the immediate vicinity. The closest hotels need a shuttle to the airport, such as hotels in neighboring Bedford Park, IL, he says. It is also possible that the CTA could sell some land. Little says the firm plans to steer the transit authority towards long-term ground leases but “nothing is off limits.”

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