BEVERLY — Celebrity chef Graham Elliot hopes the fastest way to a commercial real estate developer's portfolio is through his or her stomach.
Elliot, a Morgan Park resident and judge for Bravo's "Top Chef," will cook for a group of developers at 3 p.m. Oct. 27 after a tour of the 19th Ward, according to Margot Burke Holland, executive director of the Beverly Area Planning Association.
"That's how awesome Graham Elliot is," Holland said Monday. "We were looking for a really good hook to get people out here."
Elliot will make several appetizers for a reception that will follow an hour-long trolley tour of potential development sites in Beverly, Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood. The appetizers will be carefully paired with craft beer courtesy of Neil Byers of Horse Thief Hollow.
The Beverly brewpub at 10426 S. Western Ave. will host the invite-only reception that is expected to draw some 30 developers. It costs $20 for developers to participate in the tour, Holland said.
Also participating in the event will be Caroline Connors of the Morgan Park/Beverly Hills Business Association, Mary Gill of the Mount Greenwood Community and Business Association and Erin Healy Ross of the 95th Street Beverly Hills Business Association.
All of the neighborhood business advocates will attend the International Council of Shopping Centers event Oct. 19 and 20 at Navy Pier. The plan is to shop the area to potential developers using the redevelopment of The Plaza in neighboring Evergreen Park as bait.
The Plaza "is going to elevate the whole area. This is a prime time to showcase what we have," said Holland, noting the long lines for the Sept. 14 debut of the Carson's department store.
Holland admits that developing on the "Chicago side" or east side of Western Avenue might require a bit more red tape. But she's confident that household income statistics, local spending data and testimonials from other successful neighborhood businesses will win over skeptics.
"Now is the time to showcase. Now is the time to build," she said.
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