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Builders in Chicago Have Reason to Celebrate

Few cities in the world are as synonymous with building and architecture as Chicago. We invented the skyscraper, built some of the world’s largest buildings, reversed the flow of the Chicago River to protect our drinking water supply, and more, leaving generations to marvel at the city’s drive to push the limits of design and engineering. Much has been made of Chicago’s dire pension debt, population drain and concerning economic outlook, and real estate investors are right to be cautious. One recent industry survey of real estate investors ranked Chicago near the top of a global list of cities where investors planned to scale back their funding exposure.

Despite Chicago’s well-documented challenges, the city’s commercial development market is robust and thriving thanks to advantages other large cities lack. Anyone who has worked as a builder in large cities outside of Chicago, as I have, understands the limits of the dollar. Congestion in and around major cities on the East Coast and the political and planning roadblocks that come with it are barriers to smart, efficient building and test a developer’s patience at every turn. The same can be said for large and densely populated cities on the West Coast…