Chicago TREND – Retail on the Leading Edge of Neighborhood Transformation

by Lyneir Richardson
September 27, 2016

For over two years, I have been consulting with Robert Weissbourd, a Brookings Fellow and noted economic development thought leader, to design a program that would catalyze strategic retail
development in urban neighborhoods. I am very happy to report that two prestigious foundations
(the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust) recently provided $7M of funding to the Chicago Community Loan Fund, as fiscal sponsor, allowing us to launch a new social enterprise — now known as Chicago TREND.

This is a natural extension of the work being done every day in the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at Rutgers Business School and is keeping me prominently on the front lines of entrepreneurship and community and economic development.

Chicago TREND is a centralized resource for real estate developers, retailers and community
organizations seeking to understand neighborhood trajectories and invest in retail projects that can prompt desired change. With extensive research and original survey data, experts at Econsult, Inc, RW Ventures, LLC, Nielsen and I are developing sophisticated predictive analytics to identify
neighborhoods on the cusp of change, where the emerging consumer base can support new high-potential retail, and where better retail can make a difference.

Chicago TREND was just profiled in Crain’s Chicago Business. I hope you will give it a read:

An extraordinary Chicago TREND Steering Committee — composed of senior executives and
leaders representing Retailers, Developers, Brokers, Bankers, Investors, Trade Associations,
Government and Community Development Organizations — are working with us every step of the way to guide this work. TREND also benefits from strong partnerships with the International Council of Shopping Centers and Urban Land Institute, and from close working relationships with the City of Chicago.

I also want to say a special thanks to the MacArthur Foundation, which has supported this work from its conception, the Chicago Community Trust and Rutgers Business School.

We are actively looking for deals. Please help spread the word by sharing this post. I invite you to also follow us on Twitter: @TheChiTREND or visit our

Thank you for your continued support.  Feel free to let me know if we might have an opportunity to work together or if I can assist you in any way.


Lyneir Richardson

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