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Old January 24th, 2005, 07:53 PM   #1
24gotham
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The Loop has become the largest "College Town" in Illinois

Chicago's Loop is Now the Largest ``College Town'' in the State, New Study Shows

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 24, 2005--

The first-ever comprehensive study of higher education institutions in Chicago's Loop reveals that Chicago's downtown colleges and universities, with a total of 52,000 students, are making the Loop the largest "college town" in the state of Illinois.
The study results released Jan. 24 show that Loop higher education institutions have a significant impact on the area's retail, restaurant, real estate and construction industries, as well as the character of downtown as a place to work, play and live.
Sponsored by the Greater State Street Council and Central Michigan Avenue Association, the study was conducted by a group of more than 20 academic institutions convened by DePaul University. Economic analysis was conducted by the Regional Economic Applications Laboratory (REAL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Some highlights of the research show that:
-- Chicago's Loop is "the largest college town in Illinois," with more than 52,000 students attending classes at institutions that occupy at least 41 separate locations and nearly 7.5 million total gross square feet of Loop real estate - more than double the space of the Sears Tower.
-- Loop colleges and universities collectively represent one of Chicago's top 25 employers. Their 12,131 workers earn and spend wages that have a total direct and indirect impact on the regional economy worth $1.2 million.
-- Loop higher education institutions spend more than $345 million on goods and services annually, generating $777 million in direct and indirect economic activity that creates 13,500 jobs.
-- Loop colleges and universities generate capital projects that promote development, historic building preservation and job creation. Ten institutions, alone, have spent more than $159 million on renovation and new construction in the Loop from 1997 to 2002, creating 3,280 jobs. The sector expects to spend $339 million more in capital projects by the end of the decade.
-- The Loop residential population includes an increasing number of college students, with student residence facilities currently offering 3,789 beds in the Loop.
-- A survey of students indicates they spend more than $25 million annually at business establishments in the Loop.
-- Seven of the institutions studied hosted events in the Loop that in one year attracted a half million people, who may park, shop and visit restaurants before and after the events.
"This study documents the enormous economic return the community receives from the growth of higher education in Chicago's Loop," said Tom Fuechtmann, director of DePaul's Community and Government Relations Office, who led the research team. "These institutions do more than educate the next generation of business, community and civic leaders. They generate significant business activity and job creation, promote real estate development and preservation, and contribute to the vitality of downtown through cultural events and student residential communities."
Representatives from Loop higher education institutions plan to hold a summit to discuss the study's implications and their collective goals in response to the research, Fuechtmann said. The findings will be formally presented to city and state officials.
Ty Tabing, executive director of the Greater State Street Council, said the research will be useful for the city and business community in planning the future of downtown. "This study shows that the student population is bringing energy and vibrancy to downtown, and also that they, and the institutions they attend, are promoting economic development," he said. "We need to highlight this new demographic going forward and further integrate the college community into the downtown experience."
Leaders of private and public colleges in the Loop who participated in the study welcomed the findings as a positive step toward quantifying the contributions of their institutions and defining goals.
"I believe this study will be the springboard for universities and colleges in the South Loop to work together more closely on issues that jointly affect our students," said Charles R. Middleton, president of Roosevelt University, a private institution. "Public transportation, parking, safety and affordable housing are just some of the issues that are critical to students in all of our institutions."
Calling the study "groundbreaking," John R. Wozniak, interim president of Harold Washington College, part of Chicago's public community college system, said: "It clearly demonstrates that higher education is a major economic as well as cultural engine for the Central Area, along with financial services, retail and hospitality. It is my firm belief that our students, many of whom already work and/or live in the Loop, now will be better recognized for their participation in the downtown economy and will be afforded more job opportunities, better transportation and enhanced shopping and dining experiences."
The four-part study focused on institutions of higher learning in the 1.65-square mile area of the Loop and South Loop bordered by the Chicago River to the north, Roosevelt Road to the south, Wacker Drive to the west and Lake Michigan to the east. The first phase of the research profiled the higher education sector in this area, gathering 2002-2003 statistics about enrollment and employment from the federal government's higher education database and participating institutions. A second phase compiled information on space utilization and real estate investment from the institutions as of the 2003-2004 academic year.
A third phase of the study, conducted by well-respected economic analyst Geoffrey Hewings, director of REAL, collected 2002-2003 economic impact data about Loop higher education institutions and analyzed it using sophisticated econometric models.
"This study shows that higher education is one of the fastest growing sectors in the area and an important asset for the Loop and city, which has lost some of its corporate headquarters," Hewings said. "What I found most striking about the study was that the education institutions had such a profound, sustained economic impact on the fabric of the region's economy that complemented and enhanced the growth of other sectors."
The final phase of the study focused on buying, transportation, eating and other behaviors of college students in the Loop, based on an October 2004 survey of 668 students from 18 Loop academic institutions.
"We learned from the study's economic analysis that Loop students collectively spend an estimated $117.3 million on a variety of goods and services in the region annually, but we didn't know where they spent it or what types of goods and services they are seeking in the Loop," said DePaul Marketing Professor Steve Kelly, who conducted the survey with assistance from his marketing research students. "We conducted the survey to capture this information."
The survey found that 60 percent of participating Loop students are employed, with many working full time. Seventy percent take evening classes or a combination of day and evening classes. About two-thirds or more had credit or debit cards, and their estimated combined spending in the Loop was at least $25 million. Students said they spend their earnings primarily at fast food, drink bars/cafes and drugstores.
Access to transportation was important to the college students surveyed. Students rely on public transportation, with 80 percent living outside of downtown and 55 percent commuting 30 minutes or more to attend class.
The survey also indicated strong student demand for affordable restaurants and parking in the Loop, as well as after-hours meeting places. "Students involved in the study envisioned a coffee house or cyber cafe in the Loop that could serve as a multi-university student union," Kelly said. "They suggested a common area that would pay for itself."
The students conducting the survey also compiled a detailed listing of the retail, restaurant and other business establishments that currently exist in the South Loop - useful information for university, city and business planners, Kelly said.
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Old January 25th, 2005, 06:00 AM   #2
STR
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The Loop isn't a collage town, people do actual work there.
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Old January 25th, 2005, 06:17 AM   #3
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college is work there bud. I'm currently working full-time (in the LOOP) and am a graduate student, so yes, I know about this college thing.

Now, chicago as a collage town is interesting, yes, all we do here is make collages (being in the arts I probably find that typo far more amusing than I should
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Old January 25th, 2005, 06:19 AM   #4
STR
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Some people get it, some people don't.
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Old January 25th, 2005, 08:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STR
Some people get it, some people don't.
hehe
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Old January 25th, 2005, 10:36 PM   #6
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I love going to DePaul in the Loop. So close to the Sears Tower, Art Institute, Harold Washington Library, all the fun stuff.
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