The Magnificent Mile: Beyond the Headlines - City Club of Chicago

The Magnificent Mile: Beyond the Headlines

Panelists: Nichole Benolken (M56 - 360Chicago), Oscar Gomez (Starbucks), Stan Nitzberg (Mid America Real Estate Corporation), Logan Lenker (David Yurman) and Kimberly Bares (The Magnificent Mile Association)

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

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Kimberly Bares

Kimberly Bares is the President and CEO of The Magnificent Mile Association, a private, non-profit membership organization with a mission of preserving, promoting, and enhancing one of Chicago’s most unique, multi-use neighborhoods. Her bachelor's degree is in Psychology and Sociology. She holds a master's degree in urban planning and policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She was recently awarded the designation of LPM (Leader in Place Management) by the International Downtown Association. Before joining The Magnificent Mile Association in September 2019, she served as executive director/CEO of multiple organizations, such as the Wicker Park/Bucktown Chamber, Rogers Park Business Alliance, Berwyn Development Corporation, and an international NGO in Guatemala. She founded PLACE Consulting and spent 10 years working on economic and organizational development projects in Chicago and other communities across the country. She lives in Chicago with her partner, Beth, her daughter, Zoe, and their two dogs.

Nichole Benolken

Nichole joined M56 Group in 2013 as Managing Director of 360 CHICAGO. She has managed over $14 million in capital investment, executed the repositioning and introduction of a new brand, and built a best-in-class team of professionals that have propelled the asset to record high revenue and profitability. Most recently Nichole executed the renovation and opening of the hugely successful CloudBar at 360 CHICAGO. As a member of the Executive Committee for parent company M56 Group, she also supports future development and site assessment for the group. 

 A graduate of DePaul University, Nichole spent over 15 years in the hotel and restaurant industry before joining M56 Group, holding a variety of sales and executive management positions in Chicago and Washington DC. She is proud to serve on the Board of Advisors for US Travel Association’s National Council of Attractions and Experiences. She has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Magnificent Mile Association for nearly 10 years and currently is serving as Treasurer for the organization. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the World Federation of Great Towers, a trade association representing observation decks from around the globe.   

A 24-year Chicago resident- Nichole spends her time exploring the city’s vibrant neighborhoods with her young daughter and puppy, finding rare moments to pick up a novel and taking in the beautiful Chicago skyline from the waters of Lake Michigan with her family and friends.  

Oscar Gomez

Oscar Gomez is an Event Specialist and four-year Starbucks partner. Oscar is a first generation immigrant and DACA recipient. Oscar has over 12 years of hospitality experience and was a part of the opening team for the Starbucks’ flagship location on Michigan Avenue in 2019. From Barista to Operations Lead, to Associate Manager, and now Event Specialist. Oscar's story mirrors the dynamic growth of the company’s biggest location.  Oscar's event team is spearheading innovation experiences. While driving the event work at the Roastery, Oscar also manages the ticketed experiences at the location. These special experiences offer a hands-on opportunity for guests to experience the coffee and craft cocktails at The Chicago Roastery. 

Oscar has been a Chicago resident since 2019 and enjoys his free time walking the lake front with his partner, Sal, and finding new coffee shops to enjoy.

Logan Lenker

Logan Lenker is the Store Manager for the David Yurman Flagship Store on Michigan Avenue. Logan had a long career in the luxury retail world, from personal styling with Nordstrom to driving his personal business at David Yurman St. Louis. He has escalated through many positions within David Yurman, and recently relocated to Streeterville from Atlanta to lead the Michigan Ave based store to a whole new level of client focus and relationship development.

Stan Nitzberg

Stan Nitzberg is a Principal at Mid America Real Estate Corporation. Mr. Nitzberg has been involved in retail real estate throughout his 50-year career as a commercial lender, retail executive and real estate broker, developer and investor. While his primary focus is Chicago, his retail efforts have touched every major city in the US. He has also been involved in creating more than 3,000 new residential units in Chicago and Phoenix. He is philanthropic and committed to helping the next generation of real estate professionals reach their full potential. 

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