By Jon Hilkevitch, Chicago Tribune
The Chicago Transit Authority, which has its hands full running trains and buses, concedes it has no business managing the retail concessions on its properties.
Sixty-six of the 137 concession spaces at CTA rail stations are vacant, according to the transit agency. Commuters aren't exactly missing their trains to buy the snacks and refreshments available at the open concession stands either.
The grimy appearance of CTA subway tunnels extends up the escalators to many of the vendor stalls, which haven't been overhauled in decades. A campaign is beginning to upgrade the selection of offerings to commuters and boost CTA rental income by attracting new retail tenants, including national chains that would operate rail station stores in multiple CTA stations, officials said.
"For lease'' signs are posted at 19 CTA stations on the Red, Purple, Pink, Brown, Blue and Green lines. Up to 40 locations are expected to be available within a month, with more following later, according to officials at Jones Lang LaSalle, a Chicago-based commercial real estate services provider marketing the retail spaces for the CTA. Continue Reading