In early 2019, LISC Chicago and ULI Chicago partnered to address the lack of diversity in commercial real estate development, and Yield is the result. Modeled after ULI’s Product Councils, the Cohort will convene multiple times over two years to share experiences, leverage relationships, discuss challenges and opportunities around development, and build valuable connections. The current Yield Cohort is comprised of 22 members, 59% of which are POC (Black, LatinX, Asian) and 32% of which are women.
The focus for Yield is about building community wealth in Chicago’s south and west side neighborhoods. Yield aggregates emerging and seasoned real estate professionals who share best practices and work together to further actionable neighborhood-based commercial real estate projects. Every member of the Yield Cohort has developed, or is in the process of developing, projects throughout Chicago. More significant than creating dialogue through convention, the purpose is to drive projects to completion, providing financial and civic success. Some of the projects that developers will pursue include a cold storage facility on the West Side, several mixed-use projects in residential neighborhoods, and a community hub for arts and nonprofit space in a former school on the South Side.
With plans to launch in early March 2020, Yield moved to a virtual format and held their first meetings in April & May 2020. On July 21st, our third meeting, we publicly announced the Yield Cohort as part of our half-day Cohort meeting. The morning sessions, much like ULI product council meetings, an economic outlook provided by a JP Morgan economist and a local developer’s case study of a retail development on a site that was once one of the largest public housing sites in Chicago. The Cohort was then joined by over 100 invited guests, key stakeholders for ULI Chicago and LISC Chicago, as well as multiple organizations key to the development and support of the Yield program, for a panel discussion with Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Moderated by Teri Frankiewicz (Crown Community Development) and Hugh Williams (MK Asset Management), Mayor Lightfoot talked about development opportunities in Chicago with two Yield Cohort members – Kim Adams (J.P. Morgan) and Tracy McKenzie (CBRE).
During the launch event, Mayor Lightfoot stated, “I am very excited by this dynamic collaboration between Chicago’s nonprofit and private sectors to uplift our city’s diverse developers and empower them to make positive, impactful change across our communities. Our city’s future rests on all of us working together to marshal our shared resources toward a more inclusive, equitable and just future. This initiative will activate the next generation of talented developers on our South and West Sides, helping them to advance critical projects that will spur further neighborhood investment and support every resident on their drive to success.”
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