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Just two firms competing to run McCormick Place

The nation’s two largest convention center operators were the only companies to submit proposals to manage McCormick Place. The publicly owned convention complex is undergoing a state-mandated overhaul that is expected to include a shift to private management.

The biggest of the two competitors is SMG, whose sports and entertainment division has operated Soldier Field for the Chicago Park District since 1994. It is based in West Conshohocken, Pa.

Also competing is Global Spectrum, part of the Comcast empire. Based in Philadelphia, it was started by a former partner at SMG. Its senior vice president/convention centers is Tom M. Mobley Jr., who was general manager of McCormick Place from 1992 to 2003. Get the full story »

SMG, Global Spectrum apply to run McCormick Place

From the Chicago Sun-Times | SMG, which runs Soldier Field, and Global Spectrum, a unit of Comcast Corp., have filed applied to manage operations at McCormick Place. Merchandise Mart Properties Inc., run by Christopher Kennedy, and International Facilities Group LLC, whose leadership includes Michael Reinsdorf, expressed interest earlier but did not apply by the Tuesday deadline. The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority plans to make a decision by May 27.

BIO to return to Chicago in 2013 and 2016

Mayor Richard M. Daley and Governor Pat Quinn open the Bio International Convention at McCormick Place on May 4, 2010. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune)

The Biotechnology Industry Organization said its international convention will return to Chicago’s McCormick Place in 2013 and 2016.

“Chicago has hosted two successful and exciting BIO International Conventions, in 2006 and 2010, and we are thrilled to bring the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry back to the windy city and the Midwest,” said Jim Greenwood, chief executive officer of the BIO International Convention.

The convention attracts more than 15,000 people from the agricultural, pharmaceutical and medical device industries as well as government leaders from around the world. Get the full story »

McPier retains bond ratings ahead of $1.18B issue

The agency that owns and operates McCormick Place will approach its long-awaited financial restructuring next week with its debt ratings intact.

The three major rating services held the line on their respective ratings of Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority expansion project debt in reports issued Monday and today, ahead of an anticipated negotiated sale of $1.18 billion in bonds on Oct. 6. Get the full story »

Search for McCormick Place manager begins

The state-mandated McCormick Place revamp moved into a second phase Wednesday with the launch of a search for a private management firm to run the convention center.

This comes on the heels of broad moves to cut exhibitors’ costs for electrical and food services and to give them greater leeway to do their own booth work. Get the full story »

Report: Merchandise Mart for sale

From Crain’s Chicago Business | Vornado Realty Trust has been shopping Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, the massive 3.5-million-square-foot office building along the Chicago River, attracting one $1.25 billion bid that never materialized into a deal. Vornado is reportedly still seeking offers on the building which was once owned by the Kennedy family. Get the full story>>

New McCormick work rules attracting shows

Mayor Richard Daley says the International Manufacturing Technology Show, which has held its trade shows at McCormick Place since 1947, has decided to recommit for three more shows through 2016.

The group is one of six current trade shows that have recommitted to the city and three new shows that have signed on. Get the full story »

McPier alum to head convention bureau board

Mayor Richard Daley Thursday named venture capitalist Bruce Rauner as chairman of  the board of the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau, the publicly subsidized non-profit organization that books business into McCormick Place and markets the city as a business and leisure destination.

Rauner comes to the position after a stint this spring on an interim board of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the state-city agency known as McPier that owns and operates McCormick Place and Navy Pier. Get the full story »

David Mosena named chairman of McPier

David Mosena, a former chief of staff to Mayor Richard Daley who currently is president and CEO of the Museum of Science and Industry, was elected Wednesday as the new chairman of the agency that runs McCormick Place and Navy Pier.

Mosena’s was selected unanimously by the newly appointed interim board of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the state-city agency known as McPier that owns and operates the convention complex and the pier.

Prior to joining the museum in 1997, Mosena served as president of the Chicago Transit Authority. He also has served as the city’s aviation commissioner and its planning commissioner. Get the full story »

Quinn makes his 3 picks for McPier board

Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday named two attorneys and an organized labor representative to the interim board of the agency that operates McCormick Place and Navy Pier.

The appointees are:

Carmen H. Lonstein, a partner in the Chicago office of Baker & McKenzie, chairs the firm’s financial restructuring, creditors’ rights and bankruptcy practice group in North America. She is on the board of the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture. Get the full story »

AMA elects pediatric neurosurgeon next president

By Bruce Japsen | The
American Medical Association’s policy-making House of Delegates elected
pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Peter Carmel as president-elect after a rare
three-way battle for the group’s top post.

Carmel, who practices in New York and New Jersey, was elected in a
run-off needed after a vote among three candidates did not produce a
clear-cut winnter. In the run-off, Carmel beat back a challenge from Dr.
Joseph Heyman, an obstetrician from Amesbury, Mass. 

Get the full story »

Carpenters sue to stop new McCormick Place rules

By Kathy Bergen | The Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters filed suit Wednesday seeking
to halt implementation of a new state law aimed at overhauling
operations at McCormick Place.

The five-count complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago,
claims the new law’s imposition of work rules and conditions at the
convention center violates the federally protected rights of the
carpenters and their private employers to arrive at terms of employment
through collective bargaining. The new law also violates both the U.S.
and Illinois constitutions, the suit says.

Get the full story »

Housewares show moves to renew with Chicago

By Kathy Bergen
Less than 24 hours after the McCormick Place overhaul package became law, the International Home + Housewares Show decided to pursue a new long-term contract at the convention center.

The International Housewares Association’s board voted today to move forward with the negotiations, said Phil Brandl, president of the Rosemont-based organization.

Get the full story »

House, Senate reject veto, pass McPier bill

By Kathy Bergen and Ray Long | The Illinois Senate today overwhelmingly booted aside the changes Gov.
Pat Quinn wanted in legislation to overhaul McPier, with Republicans
charging the governor tried to alter the bill to gain political support
in the November election.

The House quickly joined the Senate today in voting overwhelmingly to reject Gov. Pat Quinn’s proposed changes to legislation aimed at overhauling McPier, putting a law in place aimed at luring back convention business fleeing Chicago because of high costs.

The House voted 93-19 to override the governor’s proposed alterations that came in an amendatory veto as he sought to retain some power that the legislature stripped away. The Senate acted earlier Thursday, voting 51-2, with one lawmaker casting a present vote. The House then adjourned at 12:24 p.m. as the Senate wrestled over how to get support for a key piece of the state budget package.

Get the full story »

Quinn sends McCormick bill back with changes

By Kathy Bergen, John Byrne and Ray Long |
Gov. Pat Quinn issued an amendatory veto of the McCormick Place
overhaul legislation early this afternoon, sending it back to the
legislature with revisions that would give him more control over the
remake of convention center operations.

The measure, which faces a tough fight for survival, eliminates the
naming of Jim Reilly, currently chairman of the Regional Transportation
Authority, as trustee to oversee the restructuring of the convention
center operations. Instead, it would allow the governor, with consent
of the Senate, to appoint the trustee.

Get the full story »