As I See It . . . Spring 2002
By Mike Glasser, President, Rogers Park Builders Group
The scene occurs in various neighborhoods, if not throughout the country. The setting: an open community meeting at a field house or at a school auditorium, whose purpose is to review a proposed real estate project. The developer, with his attorneys, architects and engineers at his side, nervously places site designs on their easels, awaiting the onslaught of tough questions from community residents who they suspect are preparing to express their concerns about the new development. Sure enough, the attendees barrage the developer with questions about a number of concerns: project design, pricing, parking, traffic flow impact, etc.
Investors and developers who take time to learn more about the community in which they intend to invest, need not be put to task like this. True, any substantial development will meet some level of opposition. But responsible developers who know their market can anticipate the questions and issues that the community will likely pose, and be prepared to address them responsibly.
The benefit to the developer of understanding the community goes beyond avoiding embarrassing situations at community meetings. It promotes astute investing. The developer who takes the time to get to know the community will be in a better position to understand the potential risks and rewards of proceeding with a particular investment.
A wise stockbroker actually scolded me once for not having a firm understanding of the companies in which I owned some stock. After changing brokers, I realized that he was right. There is plenty of good information avail- able about investments in equities such as stocks, bonds, and precious metals, but not as much about a unique commodity such as real estate. How do we get accurate and reliable information about real estate and the investment climate in various communities?
The Rogers Park Builders Group as well as other builders groups that exist on Chicago’s north side (Edgewater, Uptown, and Lincoln Park have long standing organizations), can offer its members a wealth of information about the community that the investor can hardly get anywhere else. The information comes in various forms: the status of important developments around the community, and their impact on the surrounding neighborhood. Our information also comes from important contacts we make with other local real estate professionals, residents, and community leaders with whom we maintain a dialogue about community growth. The greater involvement that the member has with the organization can often yield a greater return.
With the substantial sums that many people are putting into real estate, developers, investors and other real estate professionals should take time to learn more about their investment – a particular tract of land, as well as the community surrounding it – by being involved in a builder’s organization. Those who do are usually rewarded monetarily and with pride that they are serving the community in which they invest. As I See It . . . by Mike Glasser President, Rogers Park Builders Group Benefits of Knowing Your Community PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE