Dear Members,

Brick-and-mortar retail is here to stay. Today, the largest Starbucks in the world opened on The Magnificent Mile. The retail experience at the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery has received rave reviews, and its design praised as “visually theatrical, crisply designed and carefully tailored to its host city” by Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune.

The flagship is right at home in the former Crate & Barrel space. Of course, the design of this landmark building was a dramatic departure from the standard look and feel along The Magnificent Mile twenty plus years ago. What’s old is new again: retail is simply evolving.

Down the block, Cartier recently unveiled their transformed Chicago Boutique, just in time for the holidays. And as classic luxury continues to invest along the Mile, upscale dining provides the perfect complement along Oak Street. This past weekend, I had the privilege of joining the ribbon-cutting for Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant in the former Esquire Theater. The 24,000-square-foot, three-level restaurant is the largest yet for the company, and it is a tour de force.

I look forward to seeing the retail projections come Black Friday. In the meantime, I am excited to kick off our busy holiday shopping season at The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival next weekend. The magical tree-lighting parade brings almost one million guests to the district on Saturday, November 23.

Lights Festival is free and accessible to all. It is our gift to the city of Chicago. The parade broadcast on ABC 7 Chicago then serves as a one-hour commercial for The Magnificent Mile at its finest that is syndicated nationwide through the new year. If brick-and-mortal retail is all about the experience, we will be sure to deliver.


Rich Gamble

Chairman of the Board of Directors