Creating Value from the Ground Up
In order to make a market you have to be able to see what others cannot…and be disciplined enough to wait for the bet to pay off. For Dave, being in real estate was part of sage advice from his father. “He always told me, if you want a good job be in the food or the real estate business, those are two things people will always need.”
He started his career as a 22 year-old, who grew up in Boston, dropped in to Chicago and charged with buying up units in some of the roughest neighborhoods in the market at the time. Not having the capital himself to purchase his own buildings he set out to purchase land. “I noticed early on that when investors go in to an emerging market they tend to place a heavy emphasis on bricks and mortar and undervalue the vacant land”. Undervalue may be an understatement – the first piece of land he acquired for himself, the seller actually just gave it to him! (For those of you that know Chicago, that neighborhood…Wicker Park).
Today Dave has turned those early lessons in to an investment group that buys large inventories of land in emerging markets all throughout the city. “If you’re in early enough, and you’re invested heavily enough, you actually get to have an influence on how the neighborhood develops – from commercial and retail developments to the type of housing stock. And that’s an important component to making sure the investment is sound and that the community develops to its fullest potential”.
Currently Dave is heavily invested in land surrounding the University of Chicago for its location, proximity to the lake, the city, the public infrastructure, and overall governmental desire for the area to change. With the new Obama Library and the Tiger Woods golf course coming to the Jackson Park area their land holdings are poised for exceptional development in the coming years.
Working with Renovo has been a key component to their ability to acquire such attractive holdings. “In order to execute on a plan like this you need partners with a vision. Traditional lenders arent in these neighborhoods yet. So where other capital wont come, Renovo took the time to believe in our business plan. And it’s had a tremendous impact.”