As the Managing Principal of DL3 for the last 20 years, Leon works closely with municipalities, anchor institutions, and Fortune 500 companies to implement projects that are sensitive to a neighborhood’s character while creating economic opportunities for local residents. He has spearheaded cutting-edge community development projects that have generated thousands of new jobs and brought grocery stores and health care services into the food and healthcare deserts on Chicago’s South Side. Over the next 10 years, his vision is to help create 10,000 jobs and 10 million square feet of new commercial space in Chicago’s neighborhoods.
Leon is at the forefront of economic development, utilizing new financing tools and blended funding streams. During his career, he has structured more than $100 million in New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC), including the award-winning Roseland Medical Center, which was the first project to finance new construction with NMTCs in Chicago. He was also the first Chicago developer to use crowdfunding for new construction as part of the capital stack for the nationally recognized Englewood Square retail center, anchored by Whole Foods.
Leon’s projects are more than just bricks and mortar; they are designed to provide a stimulus that ultimately lifts economic prospects and quality-of-life for local residents. He calls his work “Venture Development,” as described in a recently released discussion paper that can be downloaded at dl3realty.com/venturedevelopment
Prior to taking on the leadership of DL3 Realty, Mr. Walker worked in corporate real estate services at Jones Lang LaSalle, and in real estate capital markets at Citicorp Securities.
A graduate of the University of Chicago’s Law School, Leon also holds a Master of Business Administration from Booth School of Business and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. He serves as a Board member of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University, and several other organizations. Leon is also a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, The Civic Federation, Economic Club of Chicago, Realty Club of Chicago, International Council of Shopping Centers, and The Business Leadership Council.