We recently had the opportunity to host our third Building Chicago roundtable event and the first event of 2020. This event series is something we feel provides tremendous value to our respective industry colleagues as it aims to provide a space for candid conversations about the topics that are impacting our industry most.
This past week’s topic was one that has created a lot of chatter in the industry – affordable housing. Why it matters, and how it impacts neighborhoods and equity investment. The goal was to bring folks together to share knowledge and discuss how specific policies are impacting not only Chicago, but the country as a whole.
We are very grateful to the wonderful team at Swift & Sons in the Fulton Market neighborhood for providing a beautiful setting and delicious food that set the stage for an engaging and informative event. Our very own Justin Pelej, Senior Vice President of Development, served as moderator for the event and set the stage for a discussion about potential paths forward. Justin was joined by our two guest speakers – Geoff Smith, Executive Director of DePaul University’s Institute for Housing Studies and Christian Beaudoin, JLL’s Managing Director of Research and Strategy.
Many topics were discussed during lunch, including Chicago’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) that mandates residential developments that receive city financial assistance or involve city-owned land to provide a percentage of units at affordable prices. The obstacles and challenges with ARO were discussed, including population loss in Chicago due to people searching out more affordability and potential ways to turn this around. Christian and Geoff discussed other cities around the country, introducing affordability models that they have adapted and the benefits and challenges that also come with those. We were lucky enough to have several members of the new Inclusionary Housing Task Force at our meeting to hear firsthand from industry folks on ideas for strengthening Chicago’s housing policies even more.
We know that this topic will continue to be a top priority for developers in Chicago, and we’re proud to be providing a platform that allows industry leaders to converse, learn and share knowledge with one another.
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