CA Ventures is a privately-held real estate investment management firm headquartered in Chicago with a focus on market-rate student, senior and multifamily assets. Much of the firm’s development focus is on transit-oriented sites across the U.S. The firm recently relocated its corporate headquarters to the Prudential building, in the heart of Chicago’s Loop.
CA Ventures fully supports use of public transportation by covering the costs of all transit (CTA, Metra, and Pace), including Divvy bikeshare memberships, and a majority of the 170 employees take advantage of the transit benefit. While parking is available at its Loop location, the firm does not subsidize parking costs. In fact, this transportation policy was established by the Principals of the company early in its history and has been embraced by senior management. The decision to locate downtown means that the office is very centrally located and near various transit options. While the building is several blocks away from the Metra trains stations, employees can use Divvy, the Loop Link CTA buses in express lanes or pay for rides on the Prudential shuttle offered by the building for the last mile. “The location and funding of transit fares is a selling point when recruiting,” notes Carmen Smith, VP of Human Resources.
In recruiting conversations, time spent commuting is a topic that is frequently raised. HR specialists find that employees have a greater tolerance for longer commutes on transit because they can use their electronic devices and be productive. In fact, they find more people want to take transit even if it takes longer due to the advent of mobile technology.
In real estate, demographics and trends drive decisions. CA Ventures knows that investments in places with good access to public transit are more in demand, and business and retail are more likely to flourish around transit-oriented sites. In downtown Chicago, buildings are smaller with a focus on density and transit. A recent building at State and Huron, two blocks from the CTA Red Line Chicago stop, has a parking ratio of only .33 (1 space per 3 units) and was fully leased within six months at premium rents. “This project has one of the lower parking ratios in the city, yet has seen some of the strongest demand and rents in the city,” notes Bob Flannery, who leads CA Residential, the multifamily platform of CA Ventures.
All three of CA Residential’s most recent multifamily developments in Chicago have been located within one to two blocks of rail transit. At the 320-unit, 1140 S. Wabash building, located adjacent to the Roosevelt Red Line Station, TransitScreen, which displays the arrival times of trains at the CTA station, has been installed in the lobby. Eighty percent of the residents in the building work in downtown Chicago and commute via public transit. Demand for parking is very low, with the majority of the property’s limited parking spaces leased out to a third-party operator for non-resident use.