Former Chicago planning commissioner joins real estate law firm

David Reifman to help developers with financing and navigating city approval process

Former Chicago Planning Commissioner Joins Real Estate Law Firm
David Reifman (LinkedIn, Getty)

David Reifman, former commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Planning & Development, is returning to his roots as a real estate attorney. 

Law firm Croke Fairchild Duarte & Beres has added Reifman to its team, with hopes of attracting major developers, Crain’s reported

Reifman will assist developers in project financing and help navigate the city’s grueling approval process. Reifman, who previously worked at construction firm Clayco, views the role as a culmination of his experience with real estate deals in the public and private sectors.

Reifman, who starts on March 1, plans to leverage his insider perspective on complex development issues in Chicago. His focus will include land use, development, acquisition, financing and capital markets. While acknowledging challenges in today’s market, Reifman remains optimistic about the potential for megadevelopments in Chicago.

Stalled large-scale projects, such as Sterling Bay’s Lincoln Yards, Related Midwest’s The 78 and Farpoint Development’s overhaul of the former Michael Reese site are in good position to thrive once the economy recovers over the next year, he said. 

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“All of them were envisioned to be developed over a 15- or 20-year period,” he said. “Real estate cycles are part of the equation when you are looking to develop a site of that scale.”

Reifman sees positive signs in Mayor Brandon Johnson’s initiatives. He highlighted the appointment of his former colleague, Ciere Boatright, to lead the planning department, and an executive order to expedite the city’s bureaucratic processes as signals of a pro-development stance. Reifman also supports the city’s plan to borrow $1.25 billion for affordable housing and economic development projects, emphasizing the need for multiple tools to promote growth.

—Quinn Donoghue

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