July 2024 Illinois Real Estate Journal

Page 4

Finalists and Winners: Page 26

Checking the pulse of Illinois’ healthcare sector: Aging population, partnerships drive growth in market

Unlike more cyclical sectors such as office or retail, healthcare and medical office development through Illinois hasn’t experienced a significant downturn, largely because of its underlying fundamentals, which are bolstered by the rising demand from the aging baby boomer generation.

“Now, the challenge for providers is meeting the increasing demand for medical services in today’s high-cost environment,” said John Wilson, President of HSA PrimeCare.

Research from Colliers indicated that nationally, the medical office sector continues to boast low vacancy rates and record-setting asking rents. However, elevated

construction costs and disruptions in the capital markets have led to a noticeable decline in sales volume.

“Some solutions include establishing joint ventures with other service providers, teaming up with real estate companies to build outpatient developments or finding alternative ways to capitalize projects,” said Wilson.

As an example, he shared that hospital systems, along with their developer partners, may need to bring more equity to the table in order to fund projects.

“It’s challenging to provide primary care and make money,” Wilson said, noting that hospital systems, on the other hand, offer a wide range of specialty services

that help compensate for less-profitable offerings like primary care.

Despite its mostly promising outlook, the sector does face several challenges according to Colliers, including workforce deficits, supply chain issues and the complexities of coordinating post-acute care. Staffing shortages, exacerbated by low unemployment rates and the retirement of specialists, present significant obstacles. Additionally, rural healthcare access remains a critical issue, with many facilities consolidating or closing, forcing patients to travel long distances for care.

NAI Hiffman is the exclusive leasing agent for The York Health Center, a build-to-suit opportunity at 1800 S. York Road in Oak Brook, Ill.

CHECKING THE PULSE OF ILLINOIS’ HEALTHCARE SECTOR: AGING POPULATION, PARTNERSHIPS DRIVE GROWTH IN MARKET Unlike more cyclical sectors such as office or retail, healthcare and medical office development through Illinois hasn’t experienced a significant downturn, largely because of its underlying fundamentals, which are bolstered by the rising demand from the aging baby boomer generation.

Q&A WITH CRG’S STRUAN ROBERTSON: INSIGHTS ON FINANCING FOR MULTIFAMILY AND STUDENT HOUSING IN 2024 CRG’s Struan Robertson has navigated the challenges of higher interest rates and tight financing in 2023 and 2024 by employing creative joint venture and limited partner opportunities.

RETAIL RESURGENCE: LENDER APPETITE RETURNS The market that emerged postpandemic continues to evolve and look different, with the retail sector rebounding in a big way – especially over the last 18 to 24 months – thanks to the return of normal foot traffic and strong consumer purchasing.

TURF TALK: COMMERCIAL LANDSCAPING & SNOW REMOVAL STRATEGIES A designed purpose behind every aspect of commercial landscaping is paramount to creating a functional outdoor space.


A short-term interest rate cut may be on the horizon—but that doesn’t mean we are returning to yesterday’s persistent low rates and high valuations.


While many highly qualified analysts have welldocumented the transformation of the office sector, the question on many investors’ lips is: “Who are office tenants today, how can I reach them, and how can I benefit from taking advantage of current office market opportunities?”


Chicago’s suburban office sector continues to face challenges. But the latest research from Bradford Allen shows that Chicago’s suburban office market is resilient, too, and that there is hope for a brighter future in this sector.



J.D. Salazar has long understood the benefit of targeting a niche. It’s why the firm he founded, Willowbrook, Illinois-based Champion Realty Advisors, specializes in investing in and managing industrial service facilities.

GI STONE’S SANDYA DANDAMUDI: BUILDING A CRE CAREER, GRABBING THE AMERICAN DREAM A native of India, Sandya Dandamudi, president of Chicago-based commercial stone contractor GI Stone, says that she has achieved the fabled “American Dream,” furthering the success of the company her mother founded.

PUBLISHER Mark Menzies menzies@rejournals.com

EDITOR Dan Rafter drafter@rejournals.com


VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES Frank E. Biondo frank.biondo@rejournals.com


Susan Mickey smickey@rejournals.com

MARKETING & EVENTS COORDINATOR Allison Kim Allison.kim@rejournals.com




Jeff Krusinski Krusinski Construction Co.

RONALD C. LUNT Hamilton Partners

JOHN M. MOYSEY Avison Young


JONATHAN STEIN Inland Real Estate Group

GREGORY T. WARSEK Associated Bank

CHRIS WOOD Cushman & Wakefield

Q&A with CRG’s Struan Robertson: Insights on financing for multifamily and student housing in 2024

Within the multifamily sector, the student housing market is thriving, according to Struan Robertson, CRG’s Senior Vice President of Investments - Residential. A leader in financing and underwriting multifamily projects, he has navigated the challenges of higher interest rates and tight financing in 2023 and 2024 by employing creative joint venture and limited partner opportunities. That’s why IREJ turned to him for his insight into what devel-

opers need to know as they take on new projects in 2024.

IREJ: How would you summarize the current financing market for multifamily and student housing?

ROBERTSON: As with all types of commercial real estate, in 2023 and 2024, multifamily and student housing developers faced higher interest rates and more difficulty securing traditional financing. As a result, some developers

have struggled to get projects off the ground. CRG has remained flexible and creative in finding more joint venture and limited partner opportunities that have enabled us to get deals started.

Fortunately, in the case of student housing, there is still a considerable demand. This is especially noticeable in about 15-20 markets, including Madison, Wis., where despite the addition of nearly 3,000 new beds for this coming school year, the market as a whole is 85% pre-leased,

and our 534-bed Chapter Madison development near the University of Wisconsin-Madison is over 95%. Because of this kind of strong demand, new players are entering the sector but do not always have experience in student housing.

Our CRG team completed more than 50 student housing developments across the country with our last firm and delivered our first two with CRG in 2023: The Standard at Columbia, a 678-bed project near the University of South Carolina; and Academy at Reno, a 773-bed

development at the University of Nevada Reno. This summer, we are wrapping up two more ground-up projects: Chapter Madison and Chapter Eugene, a 302-bed project near the University of Oregon. We have been able to tap significant capital raised by CRG to complete these projects and as noted above in some cases have taken on a JV partner to share costs and risk.

Although student housing development costs are high, as is true for most commercial real estate, the strong fundamentals in certain college-town markets have set student housing apart and allowed many of these projects to secure financing and start construction. By contrast, we’ve seen softer fundamentals in most markets on the conventional multifamily side, making new starts much more challenging. The markets with strong fundamentals for student housing typically have growing enrollments and/or a migration of students to modern, purpose-built products designed for them, driving pre-leasing and rent growth to levels that attract institutional investors.

While costs had been rising quickly – at their peak, about 18 months ago, we were seeing pricing escalate as much as 30-40% from just a year earlier – that escalation seems to have moderated in many markets, allowing for us to have more predictability again as to what our budget should be when we look ahead 12 or 18 months to the start of construction.

With The Standard at Columbia and our multifamily project located at 220 Ada in Chicago that we recently broke ground on, our parent company and builder on the project, Clayco, was involved in the project early on, and that offered additional transparency that further helped CRG with predictability on everything from cost to construction schedule. In addition, working with Clayco allows us to make real-time changes as needed to stay within budget. For example, we recently learned of increased tariffs

on certain materials for a project already under construction; almost immediately upon hearing the news, team members worked with suppliers to figure out how best to mitigate the impact to our budget.

Even markets with high demand are rent-sensitive, though, so if costs continue to rise, we look for ways to offset them through design modifications that create efficiency without compromising quality. In some markets, labor

costs are an issue; if there are even two to three projects in a smaller town, it can be harder to get labor, driving up costs. Sometimes, even with the strong operational fundamentals, costs may have moved too high to make our numbers work for CRG and our investors

FINANCE (continued on page 6)

Rooftop Resident Lounge, Madison, Wis.

Despite the unavoidable fluctuations in pricing and labor availability, our two projects this year are coming in on time and under budget, and we believe both will reach 95+% occupancy for the school year. We’re landing the plane despite all kinds of turbulence, and that’s the difference between an experienced developer and one newer to the space.

IREJ: What kind of industry shift(s), if any, have you seen in student housing?

ROBERTSON: We see incremental shifts that play out over the course of several years. A decade ago, the biggest party rooms were essential; now, we’re seeing more demand for study spaces, meeting rooms and other more practical offerings.

We also feel that with the increase in rent over the last few leasing cycles, housing affordability is a bigger consideration today than in the past. For example, students may be willing to forego a window in exchange for cheaper rent in some markets. We are always studying how to introduce lower rent structures within a building to attract a broader resident base, but that can be challenging. In our Chapter Madison project, we designed some interior semi-private bedrooms to allow us to have a deeper floor plan, therefore increasing density slightly but also giving us an entry-point rent of less than $1,000 per month -- and those beds sold out in the first two weeks of leasing. Opportunities like this are about finding the right balance between increasing density and/or pushing the envelope and ensuring the product works for students today. We work closely with our leasing team as we study design alterations such as this.

IREJ: What do you think developers should focus on as we start the second half of 2024?

ROBERTSON: Although university student enrollments have declined since 2018, in the top 20 markets, full-time enrollment is still outpacing student housing inventory, with 1.34 students for every bed, according to a report earlier this year by Walker & Dunlop. This supports the record-setting rent increases of recent years and additional development. Most schools in the top 20 markets are major tier-one institutions welcoming record enrollments. But as with all developments, it is crucial to pay attention to future supply and how that can impact demand, and to factor that into the lease-up assumptions in your underwriting. Supply can come in waves and impact leasing in certain years, but we believe the long-term fundamentals of our target markets and do our best to plan accordingly.

IREJ: What would you like IREJ readers to take away from this conversation?

ROBERTSON: The return of international students is also spurring growth in the big tier-one schools. More than 1 million international students studied at U.S. colleges and universities in 2022-23, up 12% from a year earlier, according to the Institute of International Education, and bringing international enrollment almost back to pre-pandemic levels.

“The return of international students is also spurring growth in the big tier-one schools. More than 1 million international students studied at U.S. colleges and universities in 2022-23.”

Lastly, it’s important to have a strategy specifically tailored to each individual location in each specific market, and that goes for both multifamily and student housing. With student housing, though, there are more variables to factor in with

the programming of the building (for example, you could build anything from micro studios up to six-bedroom units, and it’s crucial to make sure you have the right types, sizes and mix of units) that can drastically impact the viability

of a project. It’s imperative for us to lean on our experience as well as that of our partners and operators to ensure we pursue the right strategy for each project.

Retail Resurgence: Lender Appetite Returns

When the world shut down because of COVID-19, the shock to retail real estate was unprecedented. The market that emerged post-pandemic continues to evolve and look different, with the retail sector rebounding in a big way – especially over the last 18 to 24 months – thanks to the return of normal foot traffic and strong consumer purchasing.

As a result, there has been a revival of investor interest in brick-and-mortar retail; in May, JP Morgan reported the retail sector has performed well in 2024, especially at grocery-anchored neighborhood shopping centers in densely populated areas, and also noted that many major big-box retailers are opening smaller-concept stores. This builds on the sector’s strong sales velocity from the end of 2023. Consequentially, commercial lenders are increasingly reengaging on retail properties.

Retail generally still has positive leverage in the current market – i.e., interest rates are lower than the cap rate of the property – while multifamily and industrial real estate primarily still trade at cap rates lower than the cost of borrowing. Many retail properties are trading at 7% to 8% capitalization rates with loan rates of ±6.50%. The best performing properties have been grocery-anchored assets, followed by well-located “Amazon-proof” strip retail properties offering services that can’t be acquired via online retailers. Some examples are nail salons, quick-service restaurants and medical-oriented tenants like doctor’s or dentist’s offices.

How are deals getting done?

With the appetite for retail spaces increasing, how are deals getting done amid a lending landscape that, while loosening for this sector, still has its challenges? Let’s take a closer look at how deals are being structured across different lender types – banks, commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) and life companies.


The largest U.S. banks are primarily still focused on servicing their existing portfolio and large institutional clients. There is an appetite for retail property loans among regional and local banks, but it differs by lender. Some are not lending at all, or only to existing clients, whereas others are using this market as an opportunity to pick up share.

The banks that are lending still have stringent credit standards on retail properties and interest rates have generally been 6.75% or higher, with many unable to lend below 7%. In addition, most bank loans require personal guarantees and are limited to a 20- or 25-year amortization. The combination of relatively high rates and a tight amortization reduces the proceeds a bank is able to lend, resulting in loans that are often less than 60% loan-to-value (LTV).

“While retail lending still has its challenges, the sector has stabilized post-pandemic and some positive leverage deals are getting done in the current market.”

Further, banks are seeking deposits concurrent with new loans. Borrowers that can contribute deposits will get preferential treatment.

The best candidates for bank loans are highnet-worth, repeat borrowers with a consistent track-record of on-time payments that are working with their local or regional bank partners with whom they have already established a trusting relationship. Bank loans for retail properties are possible in the current climate, but it often takes these strong connections and a property with good cashflow to get them across the finish line.

CMBS lenders:

The volume of commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) loans slowed as interest rates rose post-pandemic, but this has reversed course in 2024, especially since the start of Q2. Some – myself included – may even say that the CMBS market is having a bit of a moment right now because their aggressive underwriting parameters are having a consequential impact to borrowers. By mixing and matching a diverse pool of assets, CMBS lenders can accept underwriting standards that others cannot, allowing them to achieve higher loan proceeds than other lender types.

CMBS has traditionally been the go-to source for maximum leverage and that is certainly true today, for example, by sizing grocery-anchored retail loan proceeds as aggressively as a 1.35x interest-only debt-service coverage ratio (DSCR) and big-box retail to as high as 65% LTV. This is a huge benefit in a high-interest-rate market such as the one we’re in now because most borrowers are seeking to refinance properties with minimal to no paydown.

Draper and Kramer’s Commercial Finance Group recently closed a grocery-anchored transaction in Las Vegas in which the grocer makes up 80% of the property income, has a lease term expiring during the loan term and did not report sales. The lack of performance information made it tough to anticipate the retailer’s likelihood to renew. Since other lenders (banks and life companies) were either well short on loan proceeds or required some level of recourse tied to the grocer roll; only CMBS did not. This provided a clear benefit for using CMBS financing.

Life Companies

Life company lenders mostly took a pause on new retail loans during the turmoil of COVID, but this has since changed. Lenders can now measure a property’s performance from before, during and after the pandemic, allowing them to easily identify assets that have staying power. Through life company lenders, the strong performing properties can obtain low-rate financing with the flexibility that accompanies balance sheet loans.

Grocery-anchored retail featuring the top one or two grocery brands (by share) in the market is the most coveted property type among life companies since those are the highest trafficked properties in a neighborhood. Terms can get very aggressive for these properties, with loan spreads down to the mid 100 basis points (bps) and leverage up to 65%, although the best pricing is found at the sub-55% level.

In addition, there is a contingent of life companies that like lending on strip centers, as they contain a diversified mix of tenants and are protected from the transition to online retail.

Life company spreads for these properties will generally range from 180 to 250 bps with leverage topping out at 65%. Non-recourse loans are available, although partial recourse may be required as leverage increases.

Meanwhile, big-box retail is still highly scrutinized by life company lenders, and it may be tough to find an audience. Lenders will key in on co-tenancy clauses and sales performance. If the property is shadow anchored, say by Target, Walmart or Home Depot, life companies will put emphasis on the performance of those anchor stores, but that performance data can sometimes be difficult to obtain. If a big box retail property does survive the review process, loan proceeds will normally max out near 55% LTV.

In recent months, I was able to place three different grocery-anchored properties, located in various East Coast locations, with life companies. In each case, the grocer had less than five years remaining on its lease, but there were reported sales, and the sponsor was willing to guarantee the grocer’s rent payments in the event it vacated. With this, I was able to secure a low fixed-rate loan that cashed out proceeds to a level normally only found in the CMBS market. In this instance, proceeds were sized to a 1.15x amortizing DSCR. The borrower was able to solve their near-term refinancing needs and free up excess equity to pursue more deals.

Also via a life company, I closed on a strip retail property in Brownsville, Texas, at a $4.5 million loan amount, 63% LTV, and a 6.4% interest rate. The local banks in this market were all quoting rates above 8%.

While retail lending still has its challenges, the sector has stabilized post-pandemic and some positive leverage deals are getting done in the current market. There are strong fundamentals in place for this momentum to continue for the foreseeable future.

Mark Perkowski

“Rising labor costs and static reimbursement rates made it difficult for Walmart and Walmart has announced it is closing its 51 health centers,” said Wilson. “Walgreens saw major losses on healthcare initiatives and is pulling out of the primary care market.”

Calling the health care real estate market “resilient,” Wilson credited that resiliency to the necessity of the services provided, many of them to an aging population.

“More procedures are being performed on an outpatient basis, driving demand for facilities outside of traditional hospitals and close to population centers,” Wilson said. “Once everybody gets comfortable with the economic reset that’s here to stay—that is, higher construction costs and interest rates that translate to higher rents—we’re going to see more and more development pencil out.”

Brian Edgerton, Senior Vice President of NIA Hiffman’s Healthcare Services Team, observed that healthcare and medical office development is necessary because the existing inventory of space within modern medical office buildings, particularly larger footprints, is not keeping pace with demand.

“This is because few, if any, facilities have been built on a speculative basis,” Edgerton explained. “In today’s capital-constrained market, developers often need a committed anchor tenant before breaking ground not only to obtain financing, but also because these facilities typically require a high level of customization for the end user.”

Edgerton pointed to multispecialty practices and large hospital systems, such as UChicago Medicine, Northwestern Medicine, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Rush University Medical Center, which have all have recently developed or are currently constructing new outpatient facilities in both the city and suburbs strategically located for their patients to have convenient access to care.

NAI Hiffman has played a crucial role in several key projects, including the expansion of Hummingbird Pediatrics. This provider has recently leased a new 10,000-square-foot location in Elmhurst, scheduled to open this summer. The facility, which includes a converted warehouse space-turned-gym, will offer a wide variety of speech, feeding, occupational, physical and developmental therapies, as well as counseling services and Hummingbird Children’s Academy, a therapeutic preschool for children ages 3-6.

“This marked the fourth time Hiffman represented Hummingbird in growing its footprint in suburban Chicago, where it has additional locations in Westmont and Woodridge,” Edgerton said. “With this latest location in Elmhurst, we found a single-story flex industrial building that could be retrofitted based on their specifications.”

In Oak Brook, Ill., NAI Hiffman is now the exclusive leasing agent for The York Health Center, a 2.5-acre build-to-suit opportunity that can accommodate a 35,000-square-foot medical office building.

“It benefits from high visibility and traffic counts, as well as nearby retail, restaurant and hospitality offerings,” said Edgerton. “As a result, the area has emerged as a significant medical corridor that already is home to Midwest Orthopaedics at RUSH and Endeavor Health Elmhurst Hospital.”

Additionally, NAI Hiffman facilitated the development of the Orland Park Medical Pavilion for Silver Cross Hospital and Premier Suburban Medical Group. NAI Hiffman Executive Vice President Perry Higa represented Silver Cross and PSMG in the build-to-suit development by negotiating the land purchase, bringing in Remedy Medical Properties

as the project’s developer, Leopardo Construction as the general contractor, Jensen and Halstead as the architect and Kimley-Horn as civil engineer. Higa also negotiated the ground lease and longterm leases for both providers.

“This state-of-the-art, 42,000-squarefoot facility features comprehensive lab, imaging, pharmacy services, a cancer care and infusion center and numerous exam rooms,” Edgerton said.

Silver Cross Medical Group has also leased 8,000 square feet at 410 Lincoln Highway in New Lenox, Ill., a Class A medical office building marketed by NAI Hiffman. The occupancy ready spaces were previously occupied by system-credit providers.

“We aim to build on this momentum as we look to fill the remaining 36,000 square feet with other providers that see value in quality second-generation medical office facilities,” said Edgerton, stressing that buildings like 410 Lincoln –quality, second-generation medical office space with good locations – will attract tenants and lease quickly. “There’s strong demand for such spaces because they offer tenants a path to rapid occupancy without burdening them with the expense and long-term lease commitment that usually accompanies a full renovation.”

HEALTHCARE (continued from page 1)
NAI Hiffman is marketing a Class A medical office building for lease at 410 Lincoln Highway in New Lenox, Ill., previously occupied by system-credit providers.
“There’s strong demand for such (second-generation medical office facilities) spaces because they offer tenants a path to rap id occupancy without burdening them with the expense and long-term lease commitment that usually accompanies a full renovation.”

That sentiment was echoed by HSA PrimeCare Executive Vice President Robert Titzer, who noted that due to higher interest rates and other challenges in the healthcare industry, some new development has hit a pause, which has led to increased attention on second-generation or existing spaces.

“This type of space provides benefits for both users and owners, which include more cost-effective buildouts, easier commitment with fluctuating interest rates and new revenue stream for property owners,” Titzer said.

Both Edgerton and Wilson mentioned the emergence of new trends and technologies within the sector, one being that behavioral health has become a critical area of focus, with growing demand for mental health services driving the development of new facilities. Additionally, AI tools are increasingly being incorporated into construction and site selection processes, promising to enhance efficiency and profitability. The integration of artifi-

cial intelligence is poised to revolutionize the healthcare sector as AI’s potential applications include streamlining administrative tasks, enhancing telemedicine platforms and aiding in medical imaging and personalized treatment plans. For example, predictive analytics could improve healthcare resource planning and allocation, making the sector more efficient and responsive to patient needs.

As Colliers’ research highlights, the healthcare industry is at a pivotal crossroads, with opportunities for

growth and innovation on the horizon. The anticipated decline in interest rates is expected to stimulate investment and deal activity in the coming years. While the state of the medical and healthcare office sector in Illinois is one of dynamic growth and evolving challenges, one thing is clear: with strategic partnerships, technological innovation and a focus on meeting the needs of an aging population, the sector is well-positioned for a promising future.

Turf Talk: Commercial Landscaping & Snow Removal Strategies

10 Commercial Landscaping Mistakes to Avoid

Tom Marsan is a certified snow professional who has been in the landscaping and snow removal industry for about two decades. He is an active member of ILCA and SIMA and is currently the general manager at Beverly Companies in Chicagoland

As of 2023, there are a total of 296,477 property management businesses in the USA. It is a $99.5 billion-dollar industry that is growing increasingly competitive. Finding ways to set your commercial facility apart is essential. Whether it’s a corporate campus, a retail center, or an apartment complex, avoiding these common commercial landscaping mistakes is not just a luxury but a strategic necessity.

1. Not having a designed purpose behind the landscaping

A designed purpose behind every aspect of commercial landscaping is paramount to creating a functional outdoor space. One critical aspect to consider is traffic flow. Design parking lots and pathways so they are clear, intuitive, and lead visitors seamlessly to their destinations.

Emphasizing the right areas such as the main entrance with bold landscaping features not only enhances curb appeal but also establishes a strong first impression. Additionally, design for employee and visitor attractions. Incorporate amenities like comfortable seating areas and shaded spots for relaxation or outdoor meetings.

By thoughtfully considering every element of the landscape design, from plant selection to seating placement, businesses can create environments that enhance the experience of those who frequent the space.

2. Planting the wrong plants or at the wrong depth

Choose plants that suit their environment. This can help to prevent overcrowding and ensure proper growth. There is a huge push right now for native and sustainable landscaping. Planning ahead to ensure your plants don’t grow to block landscape lights or impede a walkway can also be very helpful. Even knowing what types of animals and insects certain plants will attract is important. You don’t want bees swarming the outdoor lunch area.

Additionally, plant at the correct depth to promote healthy root development and stability. If a tree is planted at the wrong depth, it may take a few years, but it will yield negative results eventually. Thoughtful planning and execution of planting schemes create visually appealing and functional landscapes.

3. Not adding color for all seasons

It’s easy to get excited about the vibrant colors of spring, summer, and fall. Don’t forget to cultivate a diverse plant palette that offers year-round interest. Incorporating a mix of deciduous and evergreen plants ensures a dynamic landscape that remains vibrant even during the dreary months.

Strategic plant selection can provide bursts of color throughout the seasons, from the delicate blooms of spring to the fiery foliage of autumn. Integrating elements such as flowering shrubs, ornamental grasses, and seasonal annuals adds visual diversity and maintains the allure of outdoor spaces regardless of the time of year.

4. Incorrect Mowing and Fertilizing Patterns

The maintenance side of landscaping is where a lot of property managers can go wrong. Mowing grass too short can weaken its root system, making it more susceptible to pests, diseases, and drought stress. Consistently mowing in the same direction can lead to soil compaction, and a lawn that looks worn out from leaning. Mowing right after rainfall can result in uneven cuts and clumping, detracting from the overall appearance.

Applying the correct amount of fertilizer ensures that plants receive essential nutrients without risking over-fertilization. Too much fertilizer can lead to environmental harm,

nutrient runoff, and leave you with a burnt lawn. Equally crucial is timing; fertilizing at the right time of year corresponds with plants’ natural growth cycles, maximizing their uptake of nutrients and promoting robust growth. By adhering to a tailored fertilization schedule based on the specific needs of plants and local climate conditions, property managers can nurture thriving landscapes that leave a lasting impression on visitors and tenants alike.

5 Incorrect watering

Under-watering can lead to stressed, parched plants, while overwatering can suffocate roots and promote diseases like root rot. Finding the right balance is key, considering factors such as soil type, weather conditions, and plant species’ water requirements. Implementing efficient irrigation systems and monitoring soil moisture levels regularly can help property managers avoid both scenarios, ensuring optimal hydration for lush and thriving landscapes.

6. Improper pruning

Cutting too much or at the wrong time can weaken plants, disrupt their natural growth patterns, and leave them vulnerable to diseases and pests. Conversely, neglecting to prune can result in overgrown, unkempt foliage that detracts from the overall appearance of the property. Proper pruning techniques promote air circu-

lation, and shaping of the plants to encourage healthy growth.

7. Improper drainage design and maintenance

Improper drainage design and maintenance can lead to a host of issues from waterlogged soil to erosion and structural damage. Inadequate drainage can result in standing water, which can drown plant roots and create breeding grounds for pests and diseases.

Poor drainage can also compromise the stability of hardscape features and lead to costly repairs.

Regular maintenance like clearing debris from drains and ensuring they are free-flowing, is essential for preventing blockages and maintaining effective drainage. Investing in proper grading and drainage systems during landscape design can help mitigate potential drainage problems before they arise. Additionally, it’s important to winterize the irrigation system every year.

8. Neglecting safety hazards

Uneven sidewalks, potholes, and standing water spots can pose serious risks to both pedestrians and property integrity. Uneven surfaces increase the likelihood of trips and falls, leading to potential injuries and liability concerns for property owners. Potholes not only endanger

pedestrians but also damage vehicles and compromise the overall aesthetics of the property.

Standing water spots not only create slip hazards but also contribute to soil erosion and potential water damage to nearby structures. Regular inspections and prompt repairs are essential to address these safety hazards before they escalate.

9. Not making the entrance the focal point

The entrance serves as the gateway to the property, setting the tone for visitors and creating the first impression. Failing to prioritize its design

and maintenance can result in a lackluster welcome that fails to captivate and engage visitors. By contrast, strategically enhancing the entrance with inviting features such as landscaping, signage, lighting, and architectural elements can elevate its prominence and draw attention.

This focal point not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of the property but also reinforces its identity and brand image. Property managers should recognize the significance of the entrance and invest in its design and upkeep to leave a lasting impression on visitors and tenants alike.

10. Failure to do locate requests

Failure to perform locate requests is a critical oversight that can have serious consequences for commercial landscaping projects. Before digging or excavating on a property, it’s essential to submit locate requests to utility companies to identify the location of underground utilities such as gas lines, water pipes, and electrical cables.

Neglecting this crucial step can lead to accidental damage to utility infrastructure, resulting in service disruptions, safety hazards, and costly

repairs. It can potentially lead to legal liabilities and regulatory fines as well.

From prioritizing safety and proper maintenance to strategic design choices that enhance functionality and aesthetics, every decision plays a crucial role in shaping the overall appeal of a property. If you opt to use a landscaping company, make sure they are diligent to avoid these common mistakes. By recognizing the importance of proactive measures, property managers can create environments that not only stand out but also prioritize the well-being and satisfaction of visitors and tenants.

Reset Ready: Navigating the Great Reset in Commercial Real Estate

Ashort-term interest rate cut may be on the horizon—but that doesn’t mean we are returning to yesterday’s persistent low rates and high valuations. The year ahead will require new thinking and reformulating the math as we structure financing for the next wave of commercial real estate (CRE) investment. What CRE needs now is a significant recalibration—a Great Reset.

The first step: shifting how we think about interest rates. Sitting around and waiting for longterm interest rates to return to near-zero is overly optimistic. Even if the Federal Reserve achieves its inflation target of 2%, the federal funds rate will settle in at around 2% and a normal, upwardly sloping yield curve will result in a 5-year Treasury rate of approximately 3% and a 10-year Treasury rate around 4%.

With long-term Treasury rates at those levels, financing for stabilized properties will be in the 5% to 7% range—a far cry from the 3% to 4.5% range we saw just a few years ago. Unless real

estate investors can withstand negative leverage for a short time because of increasing net operating income (NOI), most investors can expect to price prime properties using capitalization rates in the 6% to 7% range or higher. Moving from a 4% cap rate to a 6% cap rate is a 33% decline in a property’s value, assuming NOI is stable.

That brings us to step two of the Great Reset: changes to NOI. While there has been significant rental rate growth—especially for apartments in certain markets and industrial properties nationwide—in many instances, expenses have increased as fast or faster than rental rates. Major operating expenses like real estate taxes, insurance rates, personnel costs and repair and maintenance costs have all had significant increases. The increase in expenses outpacing the increase in rents also creates a decrease in value to all property types.

Additionally, there is the coming wave of loan maturities to consider. Twenty percent of the $4.7 trillion in outstanding commercial mort-

gages will mature in 2024, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, with nearly $2 trillion coming due by the end of 2026. About one-third of the debt coming due in 2024 is a result of loan extensions from 2023 by borrowers and lenders that were hoping for rates to come down in 2024. Assuming lenders do not extend the loans into the future, this wave of maturities will bring many properties to market at prices lower than the owners paid for them in the past.

Lenders whose underwriting factored in favorable debt service coverage ratios and traditional debt yield tests will likely weather the interest-rate storm without major losses in the CRE sector due to the low leverage that underwriting based on debt yield required. Those disciplined lenders will be able to remain active in the market and stand to gain considerably as the Great Reset occurs. The moment is especially ripe for those ready to lend in sectors like industrial and multifamily real estate, where borrowers who secured financing during the low-interest-rate

window between 2017 and 2020 now face the need to restructure their debt.

How can investors and lenders alike stay ahead of the curve? Here’s a look at the year ahead.

Where we are—and where we are headed

Many “pretend and extend” lenders have long been awaiting a drop in interest rates that will likely not happen. The aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008 created a misplaced sense of permanence around the low rates that followed. Many developers, investors and debt providers misinterpreted a temporary phase (albeit a temporary phase that lasted a decade) as the new normal. The reality is that interest rates in the 6% to 7% range, or far higher, were the norm in previous decades. To expect extremely low rates indefinitely was simply unrealistic.

Sellers have also been slow to adjust. Now, the disconnect between seller expectations and buyer willingness has propelled billions into funds

Photo by Stephen Dawson for unsplash.

aimed at acquiring distressed debt or assets. The pressing question remains: What will cause the bid-ask spread to narrow enough for transactions to take place? Borrowers that have locked in low, fixed-rate financing have no reason to sell into this environment. However, as loans mature and a wave of maturities occurs over the next year or so, these borrowers will be faced with the decision to refinance at much higher rates—assuming NOI growth has kept up enough to overcome the increase in interest rates—or they will be forced to sell or infuse significant equity into projects to replace the existing debt with lower leverage.

Different product types and geographies deliver different opportunities

Despite current challenges, the Great Reset will offer opportunities to both investors with dry powder and lenders with the capacity and willingness to lend into the CRE market. Some sectors, like new industrial and multifamily development, have cooled in recent months as the wave of new supply has overwhelmed the positive demographics of many multifamily markets (such as in the Sun Belt), and the satiation of industrial demand in the aftermath of pandemic-era supply chain disruptions.

Long term, both trends will enable unique opportunities for strategic investments amid market excess and the rise of office adaptive reuse. When an apartment community is not performing to pro

forma, for example, a buyer can potentially acquire the property with less leverage and more equity, then refinance when lower rates come along.

The next phase of the Great Reset

Advancing the market requires a shift in collective thinking. After all, one investor’s bad news may be another investor’s golden opportunity. A well-performing building, such as a multifamily property within an in-fill market with high barriers to entry might simply have the wrong debt

“The Great Reset will offer opportunities to both investors with dry powder and lenders with the capacity and willingness to lend into the CRE market.”

structure for the times. With a forced sale due to a maturing, low-rate loan, a new ownership group can invest at a reset basis. This creates opportunities for lenders and enables projects to be revived with a reinvented capital stack. Fresh capital and a willingness to invest and lend will be critical in successfully navigating the Great Reset.

As Executive Vice President and Head of Commercial Real Estate and Specialty Finance for BylineBank,JohnM.Barkidjijaleadsanexpert


teammanaginganoriginatedCREloanportfolio totalingmorethan$1.8billionincommitments. BylineBankisamemberofFDICandanEqual Housing Lender.The above material has been provided for informational purposes only,and is notintendedtoprovide,andshouldnotberelied onfor,tax,legaloraccountingadvice.Youshould consultyourowntax,legalandaccountingadvisorsinaddressinganyoftheaboveissuesorfor adviceconcerningyourspecificsituation.

Our experts have the creativity and know-how to tackle your toughest supply chain challenges, continuously giving you a competitive edge to realize your success.

A portrait of an office tenant

While many highly qualified analysts have well-documented the transformation of the office sector, the question on many investors’ lips is: “Who are office tenants today, how can I reach them, and how can I benefit from taking advantage of current office market opportunities?”

Whether you’re a current owner uncertain about what to do with your office property, someone looking to buy at a discount, or a broker looking to advise your client with the best knowledge, this article un-fogs the murkiness of the sector. Here, we peer back into the history of the office sector to better inform today’s understanding of what tenants prioritize most in their office needs and the best strategies to meet that demand.

Painting the Scene: Offices from 2000-2020

The evolution of the office sector over the past few decades reveals significant shifts in design, tenant demographics, and market dynamics, driven by changing cultural norms and economic demands.

The 1980s era of the “Yuppie” office worker saw executives with offices as a status symbol emblematic of one’s power in an organization. From the mid-2000s until the pandemic, egalitarian practices started to become more popular, contributing to higher-density, open floor plans with five to six people per 1,000 square feet instead of the four per of previous years.

By the late 2010s, the office sector was experiencing a boom, with robust construction and heavy investment, particularly in major cities like NYC and San Francisco, who had 20 million square feet each in development by the end of the decade, and emerging markets like Miami and Austin. National office vacancies hit record lows at the end of 2019, as a diverse array of tenants – including legal services, banking groups, and tech companies – demanded spaces that could support their growth, resulting in many securing long-term leases of an average of five years with little negotiating power over the high rents.

However, these bustling office environments led to increased needs for amenities and infrastructure, such as enhanced parking facilities in cities with limited public transportation options like Nashville and Miami. Office buildings capitalized on this by integrating charges for parking spaces into their revenue streams. Amenities, too, became more desirable (though less of a necessity than they are today), such as proximity to food, shopping, and commuting centers, as well as fun perks like well-stocked kitchens and cold brew on tap.

The Pandemic Seismic Shift (or Hiccup)

And then came Covid. Different states and cities eased isolation restrictions at various points

during the pandemic, but the brief isolation forever changed the country’s idea of the office.

The pandemic also accelerated trends budding before 2020, such as decentralization and harnessing technology to simplify and distribute workplace operations. Instead of opting for a single 40k square foot headquarters in one city, companies of different shapes and sizes saw the opportunities in talent acquisition and cost savings by, for example, dotting four smaller offices of 10k square foot, spread across the country. However, add in kitchens, copy rooms, and other common areas and these organizations ended up with a hypothetical 12k square feet per space: more than what they had utilized in their previous single headquarters.

Tools like Zoom and Slack made asynchronous work easy, and the pandemic only further popularized the “hub and spoke” model, especially as more workers fled larger cities for lower cost of living markets, accessible home prices, and larger living spaces - especially because their homes now served double-duty as their offices.

However, over the years of lockdown, many companies saw how remote work impacted spontaneous collaboration, networking opportunities, mentorship, and even worker mental health.

As such, many companies adapted their leasing needs to a key concept: flexibility.

So… Now What Are Tenants Doing?

Many small businesses are still working from home, but large companies started calling employees back to the office in 2022 and 2023, and many have implemented, at the very least, a hybrid model, if not a total return to the office. Nearly 80% of US workers are fully working in person, with the remaining amount either hybrid or fully remote. Regarding new leasing

activity, however, some emerging trends have shifted post-COVID that will likely never revert to the mean.

As mentioned above, many corporate tenants are embracing smaller spaces with open floor plans in diverse markets for a spread-out footprint. This enables them to attract high-quality talent and not spend as much on rent in the highest markets, though optimizing the desirability of such spaces has become essential.

Amenities like restaurant proximity, high-end security systems, fast internet speeds, open courtyards, high-quality HVAC systems, natural greenery and lighting, and so on became part of the package to attract talent to a company, positioning Class A offices as the newly crowned king (and, indeed, the buoy overall) of the office sector. Commuting time also continues to be a high priority for office users, with the ideal distance of 20 minutes from the office playing a role in tenants’ decisions about where to set up shop.

While the demand for office space is, as ever, market-specific, it also depends on the tenant. Corporate tenants are coming back strong, able to mostly afford the high rent of these desirable, newer office developments. Conversely, many entrepreneurs, solo practitioners, or SMBs, who otherwise would have leased a smaller Class B or C space, are deciding they don’t need office space. It’s easier and more accepted than ever to start and run a small business from home and only rent a space when they reach that growth point.

Navigating the Negotiation Table

In a post-pandemic world, tenants have different things to consider when they come to the leasing table.

With fewer spaces leased in a building, higher common area maintenance (CAM) costs are worth considering. Many landlords have a standard pro rata agreement for tenants to cover CAM costs, but tenants want to avoid being responsible for picking up the slack if a building has empty space. Instead, tenants are having conversations about cap provisions to protect themselves from otherwise being liable for more than their fair share.

Tenants also have significant leverage in conversations with landlords and lease negotiations. TI allowances have become a valuable leverage point, where landlords can offer to reimburse costs or otherwise cover tenants to customize office suites to their needs. This is especially true in Class A buildings, especially those still finalizing development where upgrades can be incorporated into pre-leased corporate spaces. And in Class B buildings, the ability to beautify one’s space (not on one’s dollar) may make less-lovely buildings more viable for tenants seeking lower rents.

As such, office owners of desirable Class A buildings are able to demand higher rents, with corporate tenants ready to compete for such attractive spaces. Indeed, Class A asking prices and going rents have driven what small growth we’ve seen in the sector while Class B and C buildings continue to experience shrinking occupancy, and may even face demolition to make way for updated use.

The Bottom Line: What’s Next for the Office Sector?

So, one may ask what does an improving economy mean for the office sector? And given the thousands of layoffs (in part offset by strong hiring in some sectors) this year so far, particularly in the tech sector, how does this bode for office leasing?

Fortunately, from a supply/demand perspective, developers built little office space in the last five years. The market had a decent supply left from

Photo by Redd F on Unsplash.
“Corporate tenants are coming back strong, able to mostly afford the high rent of these desirable, newer office developments. Conversely, many entrepreneurs, solo practitioners, or SMBs, who otherwise would have leased a smaller Class B or C space, are deciding they don’t need office space.”

2019 in specific markets, but because office construction was held in check, we expect an uptick in demand to occur gradually.

Class C offices are slowly being removed from the bucket altogether, with owners either selling for conversion projects or tearing down to make room for new assets – usually some kind of multifamily building (though this depends on zoning, market,

floorplates, and feasibility). But overall, businesses are bouncing back, especially those proven through the pandemic, and growing – which means more jobs.

If you’re a current owner, I recommend a highly hands-on leasing approach with your tenants. Users have more leverage for now, and offices are not the passive source of income that NNN lease

retail buildings are: owners should be aggressive and actively form relationships with their tenants, working closely with their broker to lock in long-standing lease agreements and consistent ROI.

As the evolving landscape of office space continues its pursuit of cyclical equilibrium, those who can best leverage data and optimize investment

and leasing strategies will be best positioned for success. For those looking for even more insight into current markets, asset performance, and other data, Crexi Intelligence is your all-in-one tool for comprehensive commercial real estate insights.

EliRandelischiefoperatingofficerofCREXi,an onlinerealestateresearchcompany.

More resilient than expected? Bradford Allen report showcases plenty of reasons for optimism in Chicago suburban office market

The office market is in freefall in Chicago’s suburbs, right? Vacancies are soaring and showing no signs of falling. Outdated office buildings are sitting mostly empty. And companies are slashing their office-space footprints as their employees continue to embrace working from home.

Well, sort of. Yes, Chicago’s suburban office sector continues to face challenges. But the latest research from Bradford Allen shows that Chicago’s suburban office market is resilient, too, and that there is hope for a brighter future in this sector.

As Bradford Allen says in a CRE Pulse report released in mid-May, a deeper dive into the numbers shows that the suburban office mar-

ket is much more competitive than headlines suggest.

Vacancy concentration

It’s true that office vacancies in the city’s suburbs are on the rise. Bradford Allen reports that the current overall office vacancy rate sits at 25% in Chicago’s suburbs. That’s roughly 23 million square feet of office space sitting empty.

Of this, about 17.2 million square feet (75%) of vacant space is concentrated in about 20% of suburban office properties. If these largely vacant properties were removed from the data, the remaining 80% of suburban offices—properties that generally are actively being marketed— have a lower average vacancy rate of 10%.

What does this show? The COVID-19 pandemic clearly affected demand for office space, but most suburban Chicago office properties remain healthy despite the ever-changing market conditions.

In the decade prior to the pandemic, the overall suburban Chicago office market vacancy rate averaged 18%. The pandemic drove that rate higher, to nearly 25% as of May 2024, according to Bradford Allen’s data. As Bradford Allen’s research shows, though, this increase in office vacancies has not been evenly spread across the market. That same 20% of properties in which 75% of vacant space is concentrated today are responsible for nearly two-thirds of the increase in unoccupied space.

As Bradford Allen writes in its report, the pandemic amplified a trend already in place: The weakest suburban office properties became less competitive.

The real competitive landscape?

Second only to location, the size of an office space ranks as one of the most essential characteristic in a tenant’s search for a new office location. And today’s suburban tenants are generally interested in small footprints. In 2023, Bradford Allen reported, 92% of leases signed in the Chicago suburbs were for office spaces of less than 10,000 square feet.

Only 6% of the vacant space currently on the market are units of between 1,000 and 10,000 square feet, according to Bradford Allen’s re-

Photo by Matt Hoffman on Unsplash.

search. Competition is strong for these limited vacancies.

Bradford Allen reported, too, that much of the vacant office space in the suburban Chicago market isn’t being actively marketed, toured or leased. The percentage of listings that have been sitting on the market for three or more years is just over one-third, indicating that a large portion of this space isn’t truly leasable.

“Regardless of the location, floor plan, debt status or any other factors, if a suite is on the market for more than 36 months, there’s usually a good reason,” Bradford Allen writes in its report.

Quality matters, too

The flight to quality is real in today’s office market. A growing number of tenants are moving to higher-quality, Class-A office buildings and leasing a lesser amount of space in them. This way, they can spend about the same amount of money but boast a higher-quality office space. Their hope? That this quality space helps entice employees to come into the office at least on a hybrid basis.

Bradford Allen reported that most tenants today are seeking office spaces of 10,000 square feet or less. They also have a strong preference for move-in ready spaces. Nearly 30% of office square footage leased in the Chicago suburbs in

“Large corporate campuses have become obsolete, with many being torn down for industrial uses. But focusing exclusively on these changes misses some crucial truths at the heart of the market.”

2023 was for move-in ready suites, a significant increase compared to 11% in 2019, according to Bradford Allen.

“Owners who are unable or unwilling to reinvest in their assets have faced record levels of distress, leading to a higher rate of short sales and foreclosures,” Bradford Allen wrote in its report. “These largely vacant properties comprised most of the suburban office sales in the past year. In fact, more than half of all office

sales in 2023 were for planned industrial redevelopments.”

The bottom line? Bradford Allen says that Chicago’s suburban office market is working through a tumultuous period. But at the end of this rocky time? There is plenty of hope that the suburban office market will once again showcase its resilience.

“Chicago’s suburban office market is undergoing a period of intense transformation,” Bradford

Allen wrote. “Large corporate campuses have become obsolete, with many being torn down for industrial uses. But focusing exclusively on these changes misses some crucial truths at the heart of the market. There have always been geographic locations the market has deemed more desirable, and others less desirable. To succeed, ownership has always needed the ability to invest in its asset. The pandemic has done little to change these two fundamental truths. And as a result, the macro statistical data often obscures the true market dynamics.”

Champion Realty Advisors’ J.D. Salazar:

Even the niche industrial service facility market isn’t immune to high interest rates and a transportation industry recession

J.D. Salazar has long understood the benefit of targeting a niche. It’s why the firm he founded, Willowbrook, Illinois-based Champion Realty Advisors, specializes in investing in and managing industrial service facilities.

These facilities, also known as outdoor storage facilities, are used mainly by transportation companies to store, maintain or dispatch vehicles, equipment and materials. Companies involved in the equipment rental and repair industries also occupy these facilities.

Investors have long overlooked this segment of the industrial real estate market. This isn’t

surprising: Many investors are focused on warehouse and distribution space, a segment of the commercial real estate market that until recently was hot.

Industrial service facilities, though, offer another option for investors who are looking to diversify their commercial real estate holdings. And while even this subsector of the industrial market is struggling today thanks to high interest rates, Salazar says that these facilities are still an attractive option for investors looking to branch out with their dollars.

We spoke with Salazar, chief executive officer of Champion Realty Advisors, about the benefits of investing in industrial service facilities, why he’s focused on this niche for so long and when he expects the industry to begin its rebound from the impact of high interest rates.

Why have industrial service facilities been such a niche side of the industrial market for so long?

J.D. Salazar: I’ve been in this specific business for decades, long before industrial outdoor storage space and logistics-related real estate became the favored niche in the industrial sec-

tor. I was looking for something different and for something that I knew could provide solid returns and performance. Industrial service facilities fit that.

The amount of money targeted by institutional investors for industrial real estate in general has grown significantly since I entered this business. When I started in 1985, you didn’t have REITs. You didn’t have the BlackRocks and Brookfields of the world. The bigger investors weren’t putting money into industrial. The entrepreneurs and insurance companies were the ones buying and investing in industrial real estate. That changed rapidly in the 1990s. The

NTP Miami. (Photo courtesy of Champion Realty Advisors.)
“I’ve been in this specific business for decades, long before industrial outdoor storage space and logistics-related real estate became the favored niche in the industrial sector. I was looking for something different and for something that I knew could provide solid returns and performance. Industrial service facilities fit that.”

REITs began raising money. Private REITS and massive private equity funds began pouring money into industrial real estate.

Even in the 1990s and most of the early 2000s, the industrial service facilities remained a niche that was pretty much under the radar. The institutional investors couldn’t buy $150 million of these facilities. Most of the transactions for industrial service facilities are in the $5 million to $10 million range. An institutional investor might want to buy a 1-million-square-foot building. To do the same thing with industrial service facilities, they’d have to buy 10 to 15 properties. The easiest path for institutional investors to allocate their resources continued to be by investing in the big industrial buildings.

Are more companies and investors getting interested in industrial service facilities?

Salazar: There were guys like me and a few others who recognized the value in aggregating industrial service facilities. You are seeing more of that today. A lot of companies that have secured capital from bigger institutions are aggregating the assets into a pool that will eventually contain half-a-billion dollars’ worth of assets. This approach has become more popular since 2016 and 2017.

Still, even with the increased attention they are now receiving, industrial service facilities are still relatively scarce. I’ve done the research. The share of industrial service facilities or outdoor storage facilities in the general industrial supply in, say, Chicago, is maybe 4% to 5%. That is pretty much the same across the board in other markets. It’s even less in markets like Miami and Seattle, where these facilities make up closer to 3% of the total industrial base.

Then there’s a market like Houston, which probably has the largest percentage of industrial service facilities in its industrial market. It’s still less than 10% of the overall industrial market, but it’s more in the 7% or 8% range. Why? Houston has always been an oil-industry area. The oil industry relies heavily on industrial

support and storage for the different equipment that goes into drilling and producing wells.

Are you seeing a slowdown in investment sales in this niche?

Salazar: The whole industrial service facility market has slowed down because of higher interest rates. Look at a market like Fort Worth, Texas. That is a mega industrial market. Investment sales in the industrial service facility submarket here has slowed significantly, too. There are several reasons for this.

We are heavily tied to the transportation industry. That industry right now is in its 24th month of a major recession, with no sign that it is going to change dramatically during the rest of the year. During the last year, many of the smaller independent trucking companies started to fall by the wayside. Now even the bigger companies are reporting reduced earnings and higher expenses. That trickles down to us. Our tenants are going bankrupt and going out of business. They don’t have the resources to hang in there any longer.

One of the mantras of the transportation business had been to survive until ’25. Now we’re not sure if 2025 will be any better than 2024.

The other reason for the slowdown in investment sales has been because interest rates are so high. That will continue to be a problem until those rates finally start to fall.

The last major hurdle we face is that the spread between what sellers are asking and buyers are bidding for properties is still pretty significant. There is still a long way to go before the buyers and sellers get close enough to make deals happen again on a regular basis. The bid and ask spread is too wide right now. It is hard to make a deal that is comfortable for both parties. It’s not impossible. Some deals are still happening. But they are not happening at the same pace as they were in 2019, 2020 and even 2022. It started slowing in the middle of 2023.

How are you and your company getting through these slower times?

Salazar: You have to get leaner with your organization. It has to be as lean as it can get. You also have to be very careful with the opportunities that you chase. In the middle of last year,

we switched from a rent-growth strategy to an occupancy maximization strategy. We haven’t raised our rental rates in most of our markets. We have actually cut our rates in some. We did this in Dallas-Fort Worth to increase our occupancy. That’s how you must do it. You maintain a lean operation and hope that you have some rent flexibility so that you can lower rents when you need to.

You mentioned that you also manage industrial service facilities in the Memphis market. How is that market performing today?

Salazar: It has been slow, too. It’s not because there is an oversupply of facilities in Memphis. It’s a strong transportation hub. What we are seeing there is entirely because of the recession in the transportation industry. We opened a yard there earlier this year, in February. Leasing has been slow so far. We have had a lot of companies looking. But we have not yet landed a major tenant. We have some small tenants. But our yard is 38 acres. That is a big yard. We’re hoping to land some major tenants soon.

But long term, we believe that Memphis is a growth market. We feel the same way about South Florida. We have a 60-acre yard under construction south of Miami. That will be ready for occupancy in late December of this year. We are very confident that this property will do well. But it will probably take us 18 months to get that yard into the 90% occupancy range. We have high hopes for our new Memphis yard, too. We should have more than 50% of the land there leased by the fourth quarter.

Do you think more investors and companies will get into the industrial service facility niche, especially once real estate sales activity starts picking up again?

Salazar: I think this sector will stay active. You have enough institutional awareness now that I believe that industrial outdoor storage and service facilities will be part of every institution’s investment strategy. It might continue to be a small percentage of their portfolios, but it is not going away.

J.D. Salazar (Photo by Champion Realty Advisors.)

GI Stone’s Sandya Dandamudi: Building a CRE career, grabbing the American Dream

Anative of India, Sandya Dandamudi, president of Chicago-based commercial stone contractor GI Stone, says that she has achieved the fabled “American Dream,” furthering the success of the company her mother founded.

How successful is GI Stone today? Dandamudi’s company has provided materials and interior work on such high-profile developments as One Bennett Park, Optima Signature, No.9 Walton, Fulton East, The Ritz-Carlton Chicago and the Tribune Tower Residences.

But success for Dandamudi isn’t just about building a thriving business. She also takes time to support her industry and others trying to grow their own careers. Dandamudi supports pre-apprentice programs like those offered at St. Paul Community Development Ministries, which expose primarily underserved populations to the stone-setting trades, offering apprenticeships whenever possible and recently hiring the first female to join Chicago’s Stone Masons Unit Local 21 as a marble finisher in 20 years. Dandamudi is also one of the founding members of Chicago’s new SAIRE (South Asians in Real Estate) networking group, which launched in May of this year.

We recently spoke with Dandamudi about SAIRE, her own busy career and the opportunities for South Asians to advance in the commercial real estate industry. Here is some of what she had to say.

Why was this the right time to form SAIRE?

Sandya Dandamudi: When I first started in this field, there were very few people who looked like me. There were some bankers, some real estate agents. But there weren’t many in this particular field who looked like me. Over the years, I slowly started meeting people who were South Asian. That has been wonderful. But right now, even in this world of diversity and inclusion, I think that we are being overlooked.

I see a lot of young South Asian people in entry-level positions. It is important that we serve as an uplifting and empowering force. We want to help these young people navigate the ropes. We want to provide the help that we didn’t get. If we can help these people succeed, we can strengthen our industry and the presence of South Asians in it.

Too often, young people get to a certain level in this industry and then they quit. They are not getting to the C-suite level. We’d like to support them and help them reach their ambitions. We want to make sure that we can all get a seat at the table and a piece of the pie.

What are some of the next steps for SAIRE?

Dandamudi: We had our kick-off meeting May 8. That was the culmination of about a year

of planning and meeting among ourselves. We needed to fine-tune our mission statement. We went through a lot of brainstorming and discussions about what we wanted to accomplish.

We are now planning a list of what we want to do. We are planning a happy hour so that we can all get to know each other. We are also planning on volunteering as a group. It is very important that we are seen not just as an active supporter of each other but also the community. We don’t want to just gather around and eat Indian food. It is more than that.

One of our members is contacting the City of Chicago procurement department to set up a training class for people who want to get certified. We are going to end the year with a panel discussion. We are determining what the topic

of that discussion will be. We are no longer just seven people getting together. We are now a larger group.

You mentioned that when you first started in this business, you encountered very few people from South Asian countries. Is this changing?

Dandamudi: A little. I am seeing more younger people than I’ve seen before. When Indians arrived in this country in the ‘70s, they often worked as engineers. In the ‘90s, they often worked as doctors. In the 2000s, they were nurses. Now many are working in IT. Indians who have come to this country, then, have not always chosen a career in construction. Now I do see more people choosing to get into construction, something that I never saw a lot of

before. Today, construction seems to be more attractive to all people, not just South Asian people.

Why have so many people immigrating here from South Asian countries not chosen construction as a career?

Dandamudi: I’ve been in this field for about 30 years. It’s a community. I feel like I belong to a pack. I think that is phenomenal. The people in this industry are great. We all yell at each other in the daytime and have a beer together at night. For someone looking at this from the outside, it can be intimidating. There’s just a different culture in commercial real estate.

How important, then, is mentoring to persuade more South Asian people to consider careers in construction?

Dandamudi: It is so important. Personally, I have gotten over my own embarrassment of serving as a mentor. It took me a while. But we who have been in this industry have a huge responsibility to mentor others. I want to be able to inspire others. I run a woman-owned business. I am South Asian. And I work in a very traditional male world and a very traditional white world. The responsibility to show others that there is a place for them in this industry is very important.

What inspired you to build a career in this field?

Dandamudi: My mother started GI Stone. She was an interior designer. I had no intention of ever working with her. But I was between jobs. I’d go to the office to study. I wanted to get a

Sandya Dandamudi
Clad with a graphic veined marble by GI Stone, the lobby desk at The Row Fulton Market, a Related Midwest project in Chicago’s Fulton Market neighborhood, creates a striking first impression. (Photo courtesy of GI Stone.)
“When I first started in this field, there were very few people who looked like me. ”

REALTOR®’s license. I just got sucked into this business, though, from being around it. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s amazing how passion can find you. I didn’t know anything about stone. Today, I’m an expert.

My mom was and always will be my inspiration. Unlike me, who has had the privilege of a lot of education, my mother only has a high-school degree. And look at what she did.

What do you enjoy about working in the construction industry?

Dandamudi: I love the sense of belonging. I love my job. I love being part of building the Chicago skyline. I also like the constant innovation in this business. Where are we going next? That is always the question. I like seeing the transformation of a space. I always tell the people I am working with that they are building the building, but I am putting the dress on the lady. I also like the people I work with. People have a lot of integrity in this business.

Why has GI Stone been so successful in this business for so long?

Dandamudi: Our company is very client-centric. My mom played a key role, too. She is an interior designer. She understood design speak when she talked with others about aesthetics. She also had a tremendous amount of willpower. I hope that I have inherited that from her.

What are some of the projects that have stuck out in your mind?

Dandamudi: I love the city of Chicago skyline. When people visit, they want to see the Willis Tower. But I like to show them the buildings we’ve worked on. One of the ones that stands out to me is the Tribune Tower. We worked on the entire interior rehab of Tribune Tower. Then there is One Bennett Park. That is such a beautiful building.

The most poignant one we did, though, was an affordable housing project for Related Midwest. Related wanted to give affordable housing a market-rate appearance. We worked on the interiors for that project. I was there one day when I heard people screaming down the hallway. They were screaming with joy. They came back to this beautiful brand-new apartment, and they were so excited. There has never been anything equal to seeing people react like that.

GI Stone handled stone sourcing, fabrication and installation for the lobby and residences at One Bennett Park, a Related Midwest project in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood. (Photo courtesy of GI Stone.)



205 W Wacker, Ste 516

Chicago, IL 60606

P: 312.606.0966

Website: ampsre.com

Key Contacts: Kevin Halm, Managing Director, khalm@ampsre.com; Pete Kontos: Managing Director, pkontos@ampsre.com

Services Provided: AM-PS provides property management, project management, and brokerage services to owners and occupiers of office, retail, and industrial real estate.

Company Profile: AM-PS was born out of the desire to take the strategic mindset and processes of the renowned business restructuring firm Alvarez & Marsal and reframe them for the commercial real estate world. Our approach solves problems, improves performance, and unlocks value for our clients. Our work has positively impacted real estate and those who interact with our properties nationwide.



3 E. Huron St. Chicago, IL 60611

P: 872.267.2691

Website: spaceshifts.com

Key Contact: Delanie Prince, Operations Manager, info@spaceshifts.com

Services Provided: SpaceShifts is a platform for optimizing vacant workspaces, not subleasing. It enables the options of utilizing vacant workspaces, sharing staff overhead, and amenities, and helping businesses maximize their property and resources.

Company Profile: SpaceShifts allows you to monetize your extra space by connecting you with users with similar or complementary goals. It facilitates sharing of space, staff, overhead, and amenities. You control the listing details, pricing, and contact information release.



S74 W16853 Janesville Road

Muskego, WI 53150

P: 414.369.3511 | F: 414.435.0251

Website: outlookmgmt.com

Key Contact: Ray Balfanz, President/Partner, ray@outlookmgmt.com

Services Provided: Full service property and asset management services, financial analysis and reporting; budget preparation and expense reconciliations; lease administration; construction management; preventative maintenance and consulting services.

Company Profile: Outlook Management Group, LLC AMO provides comprehensive property and asset management services for all asset classes in multiple states and markets.

Notable Properties Managed: Washington Corners, Naperville, IL; Ironwood Office Park, Glendale, WI; Wood River Condominiums, West Bend, WI; Seven 10 West Luxury Apartments, Chicago, IL; MDJD Aesthetic MOB, Rockford, IL, Ascension Health MOB Milwaukee, WI; Henry Ford Health Systems Pharmacy Services Bldg. in Rochester Hills, MI; Henry Ford Medical Center in West Bloomfield, MI; Baptist Medical Center South, Montgomery, AL; and Lee Memorial Health Systems Building in Fort Myers, FL.


9550 W. Higgins Road, Suite 400 Rosemont, IL 60018

P: 847-374-9200 | F: 847-374-9222

Website: www.meridiandb.com

Key Contact: Paul Chuma, President; Howard Green, Executive Vice President

Services Provided: Meridian Design Build provides construction and design/build construction services on a national basis with a primary focus on industrial, office, medical office, retail and food and beverage work.

Company Profile: With a team of in-house professional project managers, Meridian has extensive experience coordinating the design and construction of new buildings, tenant improvements, and additions/renovations from 15,000 square feet to 1,000,000+ square feet. Meridian Design Build has been a Member of the U.S. Green Building Council since 2007.

Notable/Recent Projects: Venture Park 47, Huntley, IL - 729,800 sf speculative industrial facility for Venture One Real Estate. Lion Electric, Joliet, IL - 928,500 sf electric bus / medium duty truck assembly plant for Clarius Partners. Greenwood Truck Terminal, Greenwood, IN - 125 door truck terminal on 43 acres for Scannell Properties.


One Parkview Plaza, 9th Floor

Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois 60181

Key Contacts:

Dan Hanson-Illinois, dhanson@midamericagrp.com

Brad Lefkowitz-Michigan, blefkowitz@midamericagrp.com

Brandon O’ Connell-Minnesota, boconnell@midamericagrp.com

Jim Vaillancourt-Wisconsin, jvaillancourt@midamericagrp.com

Services Provided: Mid-America provides strategic consulting services that maximize net operating income, net cash flow, and accelerate property appreciation. We provide property and construction management, leasing, due diligence, and market analysis. Additionally, we offer MA Building Services, a self-performing porter and maintenance company offering our clients cost savings and improved accountability for related services.

Company Profile: Mid-America Real Estate is #1 in retail real estate services in the Midwest, with full service offices in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Our exclusive focus on retail property, combined with cutting-edge technology and unsurpassed service, distinguishes Mid-America within the industry and provides clients with a competitive edge. The total consideration value of leasing and investment sales transactions facilitated in 2023 was $1.2 billion. Mid-America leases and manages more than 60 million square feet of retail space, and represents over 270 retailers and other tenants. For more information, visit www.midamericagrp. com


9450 West Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 120 Rosemont, IL 60018

P: 847.615.1515 | F: 847.615.1598

Website: pccdb.com

Key Contacts: Mark L Augustyn, COO, maugustyn@pccdb.com, James A.. Brucato, President, jbrucato@pccdb.com

Services Provided: Principle specializes in commercial and industrial property and is committed to providing clients with the highest level of design/build construction services with an absolute dedication to each project.

Company Profile: Design/Build General Contractor established in 1999 specializing in the design and construction of Build-to-Suit, Speculative, Retail, Food Processing, Expansions/ Additions, Tenant Improvements, & Specialty Facilities. Principle also has extensive experience in interior improvements, site evaluation, due diligence, and value engineering.

Recently Completed Projects include:

• 282,588 SF dry-cleaning facility for Tailored Brands, at 2000 Deerpath Rd. in Aurora, IL.

• 31,200 SF facility for Alvil Trucking, at 2570 Millenium Dr. in Elk Grove Village, IL

• 6,200 SF Warehouse for Superfast Trucking, at 1001 Raddant Rd. in Batavia, IL


2000 Center Dr., Suite East C219 Hoffman Estates, IL 60192

P: 847.392.6900

Website: victorconstruction.com

Key Contact: Zak Schuttler, President, ZakS@victorconstruction.com

Services Provided: Victor Construction Co., Inc. manages projects from ground-up site developments to interior buildouts, specializing in retail, industrial, and commercial markets. Company Profile: Victor Construction Co., Inc. remains a family-owned and operated General Contractor. Having been in business since 1954, our firm has extensive experience managing every aspect of interior construction for the corporate, manufacturing, industrial, and retail sectors. Notable/Recent Projects: Owens + Minor Distribution – 600K SqFt distribution facility that involved a full LED lighting upgrade, new HVLS fans, 200K SqFt section that required new cooling for medical distribution, an office renovation of 20K SqFt, and a new exterior employee pavilion.




Two Cadence Park Plaza

Michigan City, IN 46360

P: 219.873.1211

Website: www.edcmc.com

Key Contacts: Clarence Hulse, Executive Director, chulse@edcmc.com

Karaline Cartagena Edwards, Economic Development Manager, kcedwards@edcmc.com Services/Demographic Info: Up-to-date inventory of commercial buildings, site selection and orientation tours.

Incentives: Tax-Increment Financing, Façade Improvement Grants, Property Tax Abatements, Enterprise Zones, Job Training Programs

Recent CRE Activity: Double Track Northwest Indiana: $1.6 Billion development reducing train travel to Chicago to 60 minutes; The Franklin at 11th St. Station: $100 Million Development with Residential & Retail Space; “You are Beautiful”/SoLa: $311 Million MixedUse Multi-Family Development with 235 boutique hotel rooms & 174 Luxury Condos; Burn ‘Em Brewing: $3 Million Expansion project with 30 new jobs.



1628 W. Irving Park Road, Unit 1D Chicago, IL 60613

P: 708-873-8639

Website: emarquettebank.com

Key Contacts: Bill Hinsberger, Executive Vice President, bhinsberger@emarquettebank.com; Patrick Tuohy, Senior Vice President, ptuohy@emarquettebank.com

Services Provided: Multifamily/apartment building lending for all Chicagoland. Fast, local decision making. Dedicated local servicing staff. Simple, no-hassle paperwork. Quick close. Flexible terms. All clients enjoy ZRent – an automated, hassle-free, no-cost way to collect monthly payments from tenants.

Company Profile: Marquette Bank has 20 branches, 2 loan offices and $2 billion in assets. Independently owned/operated since 1945. Offering clients full-service, banking, financing, insurance, trust and wealth management services.



180 North LaSalle Street, Suite 3010

Chicago, IL 60601

P: 312.917.2307 P: 312.917.2312 | F: 312.596.6412

Website: wvproptax.com

Key Contacts: Francis W. O’Malley, Managing Partner fomalley@wvproptax.com; Jessica L. MacLean, Partner jmaclean@wvproptax.com

Services Provided: Worsek & Vihon, LLP represents tax payers in Illinois by limiting their property tax liabilities through ad valorem appeals. We have over 40 years of experience and can handle basic to the most complex assessment issues while offering the dependable, personalized attention our clients deserve. We have experience representing owners of all property types. In addition to filing thousands of appeals with the Cook County Assessor, we have been involved in numerous proceedings before various Boards of Review, the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board, and the Circuit Court of Illinois, and have appeared before the Illinois Appellate and Supreme Courts.


10987 Main Street

Huntley, IL 60142

P: 847.515.5268

Website: huntleyfirst.com, huntley.il.us

Key Contact: Melissa Stocker, Development Manager, mstocker@huntley.il.us

Services/Demographic Info: Huntley, a northwest suburban Illinois community of greater than 29,000 residents, is conveniently located at the crossroads of Interstate 90 and IL Route47. Proximity to the interstate and to international and cargo airports in Chicago and Rockford make Huntley an ideal location for businesses looking to escape the congestion of more populated areas while reaping the benefits of a Chicago market location. Village of Huntley staff provides comprehensive services including site selection assistance and demographic resources, visit huntleyfirst.com to start the search for your new home for business. Residential construction continues with three subdivisions actively building. Huntley is home for your business, and home to the right employees for your business.

Population In Primary Trade Area: 97,283

Incentives: TIF District, Fast Track permitting and development approval process CRE Activity: Huntley is home to leaders in business. Join Weber, Northwestern Medicine, Amazon and many others that chose Huntley as their home for business. Hampton Inn recently opened in Huntley. Amazon has begun operations in two Huntley facilities. E-Logistics firm headquarters are underway. Speculative development is underway and available near the tollway. Multiple retail strip centers are in the planning and construction phases. With land available for custom-tailored facilities, businesses seeking sites recognize Huntley as a prime location for operations.

Company Profile: Worsek & Vihon LLP, is a team of experienced attorneys singularly focused on real estate tax law. The firm is dedicated to minimizing property tax liabilities through strategic tax portfolio management, well-researched, creative appeal preparation and aggressive advocacy.


1000 N Water Street, Suite 1700 Milwaukee, WI 53202

P: 414.298.1000

Website: reinhartlaw.com

Key Contact: Joseph Shumow, Shareholder, jshumow@reinhartlaw.com

Services Provided: Reinhart is a full-service, business-oriented law firm that delivers innovative, value-added solutions for today’s most important real estate needs, including land use and zoning; tax incremental financing; tax credits; leasing; construction; and condemnation and eminent domain issues.

Company Profile: With the largest real estate practice in Wisconsin and offices throughout the Midwest and across the country, Reinhart’s attorneys offer clients customized real estate insight rooted in broad knowledge and deep experience to help you capitalize on opportunities no matter where you do business.


leadership and support as well. He has led initiatives for groups as varied as the Lawson House YMCA, the Boy Scouts of America, the Chicago International Film Festival, the Prairie Avenue House Museums, and Erikson Institute, a highly respected graduate school in child development.

He continues to serve as an honorary leader for the Greater River North Business Association, a neighborhood organization he founded and guided for more than a decade.

In addition to his wide range of charitable activities, Friedman has helped lead the business community’s efforts to strengthen the city’s economy. He is a member of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association, the Chicagoland

surrounding area. Friedman Properties has been widely praised for its development of the Goodman Theater Center, a new architectural landmark that has anchored Chicago’s rejuvenated downtown theatre district.

Friedman’s dedication to Chicago and his deep roots in the community are shared by his wife Suzanne, their son Jason and his family, and their daughter Julie and her family.

A graduate of both Northwestern School of Business and DePaul University School of Law, Friedman’s accomplishments have been recognized by organizations ranging from the Chicago Bar Association to the National Conference for Community and Justice. Though his career is far

Clark Hill is proud to sponsor the Illinois REjournal Real Estate Awards in support of Chad Poznansky, finalist, Real Estate Lawyer of the Year, 2024 | Clark Hill, Law Firm, 2024.

Clark Hill’s real estate team provides tailored services to each client so they achieve their goals.

Learn more at clarkhill.com


Architecture Firm of the Year

Chipman Design Architecture

douglasDesign+associates inc

HKS Inc.

Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum



Stantec Architecture Inc.

Ware Malcomb

Wright Heerema Architects

Brokerage Firm of the Year - Full Service


CRE Advising

Lee & Associates of Illinois LLC

Mid-America Real Estate Group

NAI Hiffman

Tenant Advisory Group, LLC

The Apartment Source Cushman & Wakefield

Brokerage Firm of the YearInvestment Sales

Kiser Group

Marcus & Millichap


Building Service Company of the Year

Beverly Companies


Tovar Snow Professionals, Powered by Outworx Group

Rainbow Property Maintenance

City / County of the Year

Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership

Village of Hoffman Estates

City of Rolling Meadows


Developer of the Year

Inspired by Somerset Development


Magellan Development Group

Mavrek Inc

Sunshine Management

Developer of the Year - Industrial

Becknell Industrial

CenterPoint Properties


Northern Builders, Inc.

Logistics Property Company, LLC

Venture One Real Estate

T5 Data Centers

Engineering Firm of the Year

CAGE Engineering, Inc.




Our experts have the creativity and knowhow to tackle your toughest supply chain challenges, continuously giving you a competitive edge to realize your success.

General Contractor of the YearIndustrial

Alston Construction Company



Berglund Construction


Keeley Construction, Inc.

Krusinski Construction Company

Meridian Design Build

Morgan Harbour Construction

Premier Design + Build Group

T5 Data Centers

General Contractor of the YearMultifamily

Mavrek Inc


McShane Construction Company

Ryan Companies US, Inc.

Leopardo Construction

General Contractor of the Year - Retail/ Hospitality

Capitol Construction Solutions, Inc.


41 North Contractors

General Contractor of the Year - Tenant Improvements

BIG Construction, LLC

Development Solutions Inc.

Executive Construction Inc.

Redmond Construction

Skyline Construction


Real Estate Law Firm of the Year

Clark Hill PLC


Honigman LLP

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Liston & Tsantilis, P.C.


Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP

Lender of the Year


Professional Service Company of the Year

Accruit Holdings

Carlson Integrated

Property Management Company of the Year - Commercial

Cushman & Wakefield


SVN Chicago Property Management

T5 Data Centers

Transwestern Real Estate Services

Xroads Real Estate Advisors, Inc.

Colliers Property Management

Property Management Company of the Year - Multifamily

Daniel Management Group



Sub-Contractor of the Year

Adjustable Concrete Construction



At Keeley Construction, our commitment goes beyond constructing buildings – it’s about fostering enduring partnerships with our clients and partners. With 46+ years specializing in design-build construction, we bring a diverse expertise building across various market sectors. From cutting-edge industrial facilities, to advanced production spaces for laboratory and refrigeration in the food and beverage sector; to creating inspiring office spaces, or redefining renovations, Keeley Construction delivers, every time.


Architect of the Year

Bert Boldizsar, HKS Inc.

Evan Williams, Cordogon Clark and Associates


Broker of the Year

Wayne Caplan, SVN Chicago Commercial

William D. Himmelstein, Tenant Advisory Group, LLC

Steve Horvath, CRE Advising

Jeffrey J. Janda, SIOR, Lee & Associates of Illinois

Pete Evans, Berkadia


Dominic Sulo, Marcus & Millichap

Broker TEAM of the Year

Noah Birk and Aaron Sklar, Kiser Group

Jeff Devine, Steve Disse and Tyler Ziebel, Colliers


Jason St. John, Danny Spitz, Brewster Hague, Malek Abdulsamad, Greenstone Partners

Rick Drogosz, Ben Wineman, Joe Girardi, Emily Gadomski, Matt McParland, George Ghattas, Mid-America Real Estate Corporation

Parker Stewart, Dominic Martinez, Alex Malzone, Northmarq

Marcus Sullivan & Tim Rasmussen, CCIM, SVN Chicago Commercial

Frederick Regnery & Brian Kling, Colliers

Broker TEAM of the Year - Office

Dan Arends, Dougal Jeppe, Colliers

John Goodman, Eric Feinberg, Isabel (Preskill) Schwartz, Brandon Nasatir, Laura Ormiston, Savills North America

Jess Brown, Russ Cora, Austin Lusson, Sterling Bay

Mark Robbins, Jeff Lindenmeyer, Chris

O’Leary, Avison Young

Jonathon Connor, Francis Prock, Darryl Silverman, Brent Jacob, David Florent, Steve Kling, Colliers


Champion of Diversity


Ciere Boatright, City of Chicago

Emerging Leader of the Year - Female


Yasamin Enshaeian, DL3 Realty

Jill Dexter, Stantec Architecture Inc.

Caroline McNulty, Ware Malcomb

Halley Pardy, 41 North Contractors

Kenia Rivera, Daniel Management Group

Margarita Slabada, Alymar Media

Our collective insight, gained from years of partnering across service lines, creates consistently great outcomes for our customers. We leverage that combined knowledge to help you achieve project success, executing projects flawlessly and delivering high value for your organization and a positive impact on your people. For us, it’s more than developing the land or constructing the building; it’s about facilitating and creating spaces where people thrive.


Emerging Leader of the Year - Male

Michael Calme, Hiffman National

Joe Connelly, SVN Chicago Commercial WINNER! MATT DITTMAN, CRG

Judson Martin, Avison Young

Kevin Kramer, Village of Hoffman Estates

Sai Uppalapati, GI Stone

Executive of the Year


Charles Krawitz, Alliant Credit Union

Lauren Chipman, Chipman Design Architecture

Timothy Nugent, Economic Alliance of Kankakee County

Project Manager of the Year


Bumjin Jang, Hiffman National

Bill McGivern, ARCO/Murray

Rich Dale, Savills North America

Laura Schueren, Savills North America

Property Manager of the Year

Brittan Boyles, Daniel Management Group

Martha Gaitan-Manning, Draper and Kramer, Inc.


Tom Kaiser, Hiffman National

Linda McDonagh, Colliers

Real Estate Lawyer of the Year

Chad Poznansky, Clark Hill PLC

Alex Dobkin, Greenberg Traurig


Howard Jeruchimowitz, Greenberg Traurig

Brian P Liston, Liston & Tsantilis P.C.

James Moorhead, Moorhead Law Group, LLC

LaVon Johns, Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila (RSHC)

Social Media Influencer of the Year


Union/Trade Association Member

Daniel Penski, Jr., Finishing Trades Institute of DC 14 Chicago

Denis Doogan, Hiffman National


Volunteer of the Year


Douglas W. Lyons, Pearlmark

Woman of the Year

Rebekah Carlson, Carlson Integrated Andrea Doyle, CRE Advising


Lauren Chipman, Chipman Design Architecture

Ellen Lieder, Wright Heerema Architects

Woman of the Year - Broker

Shari Haefner, Premier Commercial Realty

Karen Kulczycki, SVN Chicago Commercial

Laura Cathlina, Berkadia



Affordable Housing

43 Green Phase 1


Government / Community Facility

Bartlett Fire Protection District Station No. 1


Romeoville Aquatic Center

Rusu-McCartin Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago

Will County Coroner’s Facility

Green / LEED Development of the Year


Hotel / Hospitality


Industrial / Manufacturing / Science -


1032 W. 43rd St.


Industrial / Manufacturing / ScienceNorthwest


Huntley Commercial Center

Maybach International

Palatine 90 Logistics Center

Venture Park 47

Industrial / Manufacturing / ScienceSouth

Central Steel & Wire


Industrial / Manufacturing / ScienceSouthwest


3351 N. Brandon Rd.

Ketone Business Center – Lot 5

Lion Electric

Prologis Lockport 7

Industrial / Manufacturing / ScienceWest


DuPage Crossings

Interior Design

Cermak Fresh Market


Lumen Fox Valley

Sushi | Bar Chicago


Interior Design - Office

110 N Wacker Spec Suite


Confidential Technology Client Event Space

500 W. Monroe

SThree - Specialist Staffing Group

Waterton Headquarters Relocation

Medical Property


Acadia Healthcare Montrose Adult Behavioral Health Hospital

National Laser Institute

Orland Park Medical Pavilion (Silver Cross Hospital)

Advocate Christ Medical Center Adult Emergency Department Renovation

Multifamily - Chicago - North


Hugo Apartments

Multifamily - Fulton Market/West Loop


Fulbrix Apartments


Peoria Green

The Row Fulton Market

Multifamily - South Loop

1400 S. Wabash


Multifamily - Suburban

718 Main - Tapestry Station

District 1860


Office - Suburban CF Industries


Office - Urban

161 N Clark Fan System Replacement

National Futures Association

The Scion Group


Vienna Beef New Damen Office Zoro, Grainger

Redevelopment / Reuse / HistoricEntertainment

The Vogt House by Banging Gavel Brews

Bally’s Temporary Casino at Medinah Temple


Redevelopment / Reuse / HistoricHospitality

1436 W Randolph

Rose Garden Cafe


Redevelopment / Reuse / HistoricIndustrial


Redevelopment / Reuse / HistoricMultifamily

6 Corners Lofts


The Cornell Adaptive Re-Use Tribune Tower Residences

Redevelopment / Reuse / HistoricOffice

500 W. Monroe

The Fields Film Studio Office Suites


The Terminal

LG Group Headquarters

Retail / Restaurant - Suburban

CD Peacock Flagship Mansion

Cermak Fresh Market


IKEA Swedish Cafe

Rose Garden Cafe

Wickstrom Lincoln Wonderverse

Retail / Restaurant - Urban

Bartaco Bucktown



La Serre Seville

ALO Yoga

120 E Oak - Burdeen’s Jewelry

Senior Housing


Oak Trace Independent Living Building

The Woodlands at Canterfield


Most Significant Investment Sale Transaction in 2023 - Commercial

RIM Logistics at 1303 Jack Court, Bartlett


Most Significant Investment Sale Transaction in 2023 - Multifamily

727 West Madison


Adams Laflin Place and Ashland Place

The Oaks of Vernon Hills

The Meadows at River Run

Most Significant Lease Transaction in 2023

Erden Showroom

Greenberg Traurig Signs Lease at Sterling Bay’s 360 N Green

Harrison Street Lease in Fulton Market

Hub Group - Romeoville


Kilpatrick’s national real estate practice serves clients across the United States and in key international markets. Our award-winning team is adept at navigating the intricacies of complex real estate deals, while balancing the size and agility needed to address client needs at the speed of today’s business.

Building a Better Tomorrow

Kilpatrick and HMB have joined forces. With more than 70 attorneys in Chicago, the combined firm’s presence and corporate-focused practice launches an exciting new chapter in our service to the Chicago business community.

Residential environments are the foundation of human well-being.

In our urban focused practice, we shape places for living where people feel comfortable and secure. Our designs center on opportunities for residents to nurture relationships, engage in meaningful experiences and connect with the community, elevating market appeal and creating spaces that people

Polsinelli congratulates Eric Greenfield, Real Estate Division Chair, Shareholder, for being nominated by Illinois REjournal 2024 Real Estate Awards for Real Estate Lawyer of the Year and our nomination for Law Firm (Real Estate) of the Year

Eric Greenfield

Real Estate Division Chair, Shareholder Chicago

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