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CHICAGO-The more than 200 exhibitors, and hundreds of brokers, developers and owners, who descended here Thursday for the International Council of Shopping Centers 2010 Chicago Deal Making program, seemed upbeat about the future of retail both in the city and nationwide. The event is being held Thursday and Friday at the Hyatt Regency on Wacker Drive.

At every turn, attendees had positive thoughts about increased leasing activity, property movement and even new development. There were even good words about the local retail market. “Chicago is one of those regions where a lot of retailers are still actively pursuing properties,” said Timothy Just, a VP with Jones Lang LaSalle who among other properties is leasing up Yorktown Center in Lombard, IL. “I think 2011 you’re going to see more retailers make expansions. They have capital now, but they’re being very selective. There are some retailers, though, who are making a big push now, such as Chick-fil-A.” The Atlanta-based fast food chain opened 83 stores in 2009, and is on track to open almost 80 this year.

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