Oct 12, 2023 - Real Estate

Chicago's diverse developers looking for more work

Construction on the Obama Center in Chicago in March. Photo: Christian K. Lee for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Developers are convening with academics and community partners in Hyde Park on Thursday in the hope of increasing representation in Chicago's commercial real estate market.

Why it matters: The first-ever Diverse Developers Conference is intended to help create opportunities for minority developers and professionals who've largely been left out of the field.

Details: The conference, put on by the University of Chicago and development firm CRG, will tackle topics including how to secure capital, affordable housing and sustainability.

What they're saying: "There are lots of barriers that minority developers are experiencing right now," CRG's Ciere Boatright tells Axios.

  • "Access to capital is the biggest, but limited networks are also a problem. Some of our less-experienced developers don't have networks to help when the economy tightens."
  • "Meaningful diversity is good for business, it's good for cities, and it's good for the developers."

The intrigue: The Obama Center in Jackson Park is bucking the trend, using minority developers and contractors to build parts of the massive project.

What we're watching: Chicago construction is forecast to dip slightly after reaching $13.4 billion in 2022, due to rising interest rates and a slowdown in the overall economy.


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