Leon Walker, the Managing Partner of DL3 Realty, one of Chicago’s most active community developers, including opening the nationally recognized Whole Foods-anchored shopping center on the Englewood neighborhood in Chicago’s South Side joins Enterprise Radio.
Listen to interview with host Eric Dye & guest Leon Walker discuss the following:
- What is Venture Development?
- Why is it important?
- Who inspired you?
- What do you look for in an investor?
Leon I. Walker, a native of Chicago’s South Side, is driven by a passion to improve and sustain neighborhood life in urban communities. He serves as Managing Partner of DL3 Capital, general partner of DL3 Realty, a mission driven, for-profit real estate investment firm that ventures into to the most economically challenged neighborhoods and food desserts to bring quality retail projects with high- impact stores.
In 2016, he opened Englewood Square, a retail shopping center located in Chicago’s South Side anchored by Whole Foods Market, Chipotle and Starbucks. Other projects include the recently opened Mile Square Health Center – South Shore and a future Jewel-Osco grocery store in Woodlawn, another underserved Chicago neighborhood located near the proposed Obama Presidential Library site.
He left a successful career in corporate America to pursue his long-time dream of transforming communities bringing hope, jobs and prosperity. Where others see blight, poverty and risk, Walker see opportunity. His real estate projects help to accelerate neighborhood revitalization efforts that are sensitive to neighborhood’s character, creating opportunities for those who live there and providing strong results for investors.
Walker brings a diverse body of professional experience, training, and education to his role as one of Chicago’s most active community developers. Walker has been involved in structuring over $100 million in New Markets Tax Credit transactions. DL3 developments have won numerous awards including the LISC-Chicago Most Outstanding Development Award in 2009 and 2017.
At Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) in Los Angeles, he represented Fortune 500 clients in the leasing and development of over one million square feet of office space. Prior to JLL, he worked at Citicorp Securities in the Real Estate Capital Markets Group structuring market debt securities for REITs with market capitalizations in excess of $500 million.
Walker is a graduate of the University of Chicago’s Law School and Booth Graduate School of Business, and he received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan School of Business. He is involved in many community initiatives including the Greater Chicago Food Depository, and he serves on the advisory board of the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University and the government relations committee of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).
Walker believes the success of Englewood Square and similar developments can be duplicated and shares his expertise in a Discussion Paper titled: “Venture DevelopmentTM : An Opportunity for Private Investors to Drive Concordant Change in the American Inner City.”