Tag Archives: Chicago

Polar Vortex Costs US $1 Billion

The Polar Vortex . Courtesy
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA

The last week in January 2019 sent the US Midwest into a deep freeze that cost lives and about $1 billion.

At least one dozen people were reported killed by below zero temperatures which in some place reached record lows from Minnesota, Illinois to the northeastern USA. Thousands of planes were grounded or delayed, other forms of transportation, such as trains, were disrupted, and schools sere shuttered in Wisconsin and Minnesota. There were also several power and water outages reported.

Supply chains were disrupted as rail and barge transportation was halted or slowed. Retail shops and restaurants also suffered losses as most people sheltered indoors.

The $1 billion estimated price tag is still considerably less than the damage caused by the polar vortex of 2014, which came to about $5 billion.

Not everyone lost during the freeze. Stores selling winter items did a brisk business along with online sales and drive-through restaurants.

Chicago reported a bone-chilling minus-30 degrees Celsius, and Minneapolis recorded minus-32. Wind-chills factors made some places feel like minus-70 degrees.

Plan Your Business Trip to Be Convenient and Efficient

Despite the fact that communication over vast distances has never been so easy, businesses can still accomplish more during face to face meetings than over Skype, emails, or telephone. That means businessmen/women are called on to move their real-life bodies to distant locations, and when they get there, they need to be in tip top condition for those intense negotiations and hard-won agreements.

Rule number one is to plan your trip as in advance as possible. You can lock-in on airfares and hotel prices, choose your seating and accommodations, while reducing the pressure from deadlines and competing events such as conventions.

Once your flights are arranged, now you are free to book accommodations. We always look for centrally located, comfortable and reasonably priced hotels with the best possible ratings and reputations. Among our favorites is the Crowne Plaza Rosemont Chicago Hotel and Conference Center. The Crowne Plaza Rosemont is near O’Hare International Airport; has spacious rooms; great service; and easy access to the rest of the city. Heading for Hong Kong? One of the many hotels to choose from for a great business experience is the Crowne Plaza Causeway Bay. Have an important meeting coming up in London? Consider staying in style at the Four Seasons Hotel at Ten Trinity Square. This hotel is rated exceptional and is the perfect balance of luxury and convenience.

Once you have your itinerary and accommodations, now you are free to plan your meetings and get to know the best way to travel about in the city you are heading to. Don’t forget to bring all your necessities like your tablet, laptop, phone, and all the various chargers and cases to keep you running at full speed ahead during your entire stay.

Prepare for you meetings worry-free, knowing that you have planned a great trip which will no doubt contribute to its, and your, success.

From Stocks to Docks: Rob Hannah Sailing Down the River of Life

It is probably a fair guess to say that not too many people have made the switch from successful bond trader and real estate investor to high-end yacht dealer; yet there is at least one person that fits this description: Rob Hannah.

Hannah is formally trained as an architect, but moved to the world of investing as a bond trader. He ended up in real estate where he had the chance to put his design skills to use; designing, building and developing commercial and residential properties. During the 1990s, while Hannah was the CEO of Tax Strategies Group LLC in Chicago, he developed an innovative legal ownership structure to help investors in real estate save on taxes. His idea blossomed into what became a multi-billion-dollar industry.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Hannah parlayed his love for boats and boating into a new business. Officially certified for powerboats and sailboats, and a serious racer of large sailboats, Hannah went to the next level in 2011 and began his foray into the marine industry as an active player.

He took over Chicago Yacht Yard, a full service marine and storage facility located right in downtown Chicago, on the Chicago River. Hannah led the company to become an industry leader, and he eventually became the Great Lakes dealer for Fairline Boats of the UK; Zar by Formenti of Milan, Italy; Mercury Marine and Comitti boats of Italy.

Emirates Airways Reaching Out to US

Emirates Airlines expanding to USA
Emirates Airlines expanding to USA

The Dubai-based airline, Emirates, is pursuing a business plan which hopes to incorporate more American business travelers into its business model.

The airline just opened a new route between Dubai and Chicago’s O’Hare International airport, the ninth US city that they fly to. Five months before Emirates introduced a new route to Boston, adding to already established routes between Dubai and Los Angeles, New York’s JFK, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington Dulles, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Houston’s Bush Intercontinental airports.

In addition to increasing the cities in the USA that they service, the sometimes controversial airline is removing many of its smaller 777s and replacing them with jumbo jets to accommodate more passengers on each journey.

“The growth of Emirates in the U.S. is really at a very high pace,” says Hubert Frach, Emirates’ divisional senior vice president, commercial operations west.

“It’s a market strong, and with high potential, for business travel. And it’s a very strong outbound market, and certainly also a very strong inbound market for tourists, for visitors coming to the gateways in the U.S.”

Chicago Real Estate Market Booming

Chicago Real Estate Market Booming
Chicago Real Estate Market Booming

March was a great month for real estate in Chicago. According to the Illinois Association of Realtors, the median sale price for homes was up 8.9 percent over where it had been one year ago in the same month. In the nine-county region in which Chicago is a part the average sale price was only up by 2.2 percent.

Reaping the benefits of this boom are three executives whose jobs are to make the most of real estate and the financial opportunities they provide: Ari Glass, Executive Vice President of Zeller Realty Group; Sean Conlon, Chairman of Connaught Real Estate Finance; and Christopher Doherty, Senior Vice President also at Connaught Real Estate Finance.

In his role as the one responsible for acquisition and recapitalization, Ari Glass has been busy. In the past several years Mr. Glass played an integral part in 11 deals with a total value of more than $6.75 billion. As Executive Vice President Mr. Glass has been tasked with locating, analyzing and recommending real estate investment opportunities for Zeller. He also engages in financing, equity sourcing and transaction structuring.

Chairman of Connaught Real Estate Finance Sean Conlon is responsible for business strategy and investor relations. After founding an Illinois based real estate brokerage firm in 2000, Mr. Conlon built it up until he had annual brokerage sales volume of more than $2 billion. In 2006 he sold a majority interest in it. In less than ten years Mr. Conlon has become a name in real estate finance across the US, participating in over $100 million worth of projects throughout the country.

Senior Vice President Christopher Doherty of Connaught Real Estate Finance is mostly responsible for creating and underwriting new capital investment opportunities. Mr. Doherty also provides advice to third party clients and is involved in managing assets in the current portfolio of Connaught.