Chicago Planner Is Speaking Here

February 21, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — The third annual International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) West Michigan Alliance is going to get some insight next week on how they do urban planning in the Windy City and its environs.

Addressing the gathering Tuesday, March 1, at Grand Valley State University's Loosemore Auditorium downtown, will be Scott Goldstein, vice president of policy and planning of the Chicago-based Metropolitan Planning Council.

He will present a behind-the-scenes look at how Chicago area communities have reinvented themselves to attract sensible development.

The council he represents is a cadre of business and civic leaders — including the Boeing Co., Fannie Mae, Jones Lang LaSalle, Sara Lee and the Walgreen Co. — devoted to improvements in quality of life and equity of opportunity in the Chicago region. 

According to Goldstein, the 70-year-old council has been the organization that the region counts upon to tackle tough issues such community development, traffic gridlock, housing, education and tax reform. 

"Communities can take control of their future," he said, "to support well-balanced economic development through local leadership, partnerships between the public and private sectors, and being open to innovative ideas — these are the key issues for communities to lay the groundwork for success."

Members of the local program committee for the March 1 gathering are: Doug Brown, ASTI Environmental; Cathy Brubaker-Clarke, the city of Muskegon; Earl Clements, Commerce Realty and Management Co.; Dane Davis, Midwest Realty; Kellie Taube, Michigan Commercial magazine; Ben Yore, PlazaCorp.; and Greg Zost, Greg Zost & Associates.

The committee explained that the program serves as a venue for retail deal making and to craft public and private partnerships that spur redevelopment of traditional commerce centers.

In its first two years, the ICSC West Michigan Alliance attracted more than 400 West Michigan public officials, retailers, property owners and developers, planners, environmental consultants, lawyers, general contractors and financial institutions.

Gauging by the early interest, the committee said the third alliance meeting promises to be the largest yet.

People seeking more information or wishing to register are urged to contact Meredith Fromkin at (646) 728-3649 or

ICSC, based in New York since 1957, is a not-for-profit association of 43,000 professionals in 85 countries dealing with all facets of the shopping center industry. It hosts regular local and regional meetings and provides publications and research data. 

According to ICSC, Michigan's 1,100 shopping centers annually generate sales of $33 billion, $1.5 billion in sales tax, employ over 400,000 people and constitute the state's third largest industry, falling behind only the automotive and travel-recreation industries.

ICSC is arranging the March 1 event in partnership with the Commercial Alliance of Realtors, Michigan Commercialmagazine, Michigan Downtown Association, Michigan Economic Developers Association, Michigan Municipal League and the National Brownfield Association.

Thus far, sponsors include ASTI Environmental and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.    

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