To recognize real estate professionals who have chosen to lead in an industry increasingly defined by change, Roosevelt University’s Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate (MBIRE) debuted its inaugural industry ‘Changemaker’ Award during a virtual ceremony on Thursday, November 5, 2020. The award’s first recipient: DL3 Realty Managing Partner Leon I. Walker.
MIBRE’s Changemaker award recognizes people who are passionate about expanding diversity and inclusion in communities throughout Chicago. This award is an acknowledgment of Leon Walker’s work in the neighborhoods and “…as an inspiration for the next generation of real estate developers from and for the city’s neighborhoods.” https://www.dropbox.com/s/j6888ywflfiab4t/Leon%20Walker%2C%20Changemaker%20Tribute%20Video.mov?dl=0
“I am humbled and grateful for this extraordinary honor,” Walker said. “Community prosperity isn’t sustainable without investment and the ability to access capital. Our mission is to find ways to bring opportunities, inclusion, and resources into communities that have historically not seen this kind of investment.”
A native of Chicago’s south side, Walker’s interest in becoming a real estate developer was sparked in 1979 by watching his parents build from the ground-up the first start state-of-the-art child care center serving over 300 families in the South Shore community on Chicago’s south side. Upon the passing of his father, twenty years ago, he returned home to Chicago after stints at JLL and Citigroup, to take over the family real estate business. Today, as the Managing Partner of DL3 Realty, Walker works closely with municipalities, anchor institutions, and Fortune 500 companies to implement ‘Venture Development” projects that are sensitive to a neighborhood’s character and provide a stimulus that improves economic prospects and the quality of life for local residents.
During his career, Walker has structured more than $100 million in New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC), including the award-winning Roseland Medical Center, which was the first project to finance new construction with NMTCs in Chicago. He was also the first Chicago developer to use crowdfunding for new construction, as part of the capital stack for the nationally recognized Englewood Square retail center, anchored by Whole Foods.
Walker is a board member of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University, University of Michigan Real Estate Fund, Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the University of Wisconsin School of Business, and a commissioner of the Roseland Community Medical District. He is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, Realty Club of Chicago, International Council of Shopping Centers Government Relations Committee, Civic Federation of Chicago, and The Business Leadership Council. Walker is a graduate of The University of Chicago Law School and Booth School of Business and holds a Bachelor in Business Administration from the University of Michigan.
About DL3 Realty
DL3 Realty is a locally engaged and nationally recognized full-service real estate development and investment advisory firm that is dedicated to transforming communities through high-impact commercial real estate projects. From medical centers to grocery stores, DL3’s connection to community creates a pipeline of development opportunities that improve the quality of life for everyday Chicagoans. DL3 continues to expand through new developments and acquisitions of commercial sites, including an active pipeline of commercial projects designed to create 10,000 new jobs in Chicago’s urban communities. To learn more about Walker’s Venture Development model, visit www.- dl3realty.com/venturedevelopment.
Ted Talk: How Community-Fueled Development Revitalizes Communities: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYIx_sbkfQ.