The Chicago Association of REALTORS® (CAR) will induct Leon I. Walker, managing principal of DL3 Realty Advisors, LLC, into its Hall of Fame at September’s inaugural gala.
The CAR Foundation Hall of Fame was established in 1986 to honor professionals who have made outstanding contributions to the local industry, particularly those who demonstrate strong leadership and character. And Walker, who is an attorney, businessman and civic leader in addition to his work in real estate development, fits the bill.
Following a career at JLL, Walker has spent the past 20 years planning and executing community developments in the city’s historically disinvested communities. According to a press release from CAR, he’s structured more than $100 million in New Markets Tax Credits transactions to build grocery stores in food deserts and health centers in underserved areas. He has also helped create thousands of jobs on the South Side through the development of corporate call centers and hopes to create more than 10,000 new jobs by the end of the decade.
Employing his firm’s venture development model, Walker utilizes private-impact capital to revitalize and redevelop neighborhoods that are economically stagnant and, most often, overlooked. Currently, DL3 Realty Advisors is overseeing large-scale, transit- oriented residential projects, which offer more affordable housing options alongside new retail spots.
To lift diverse voices in the industry, Walker also founded the DL3 Realty Impact Scholarship at the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University and co-founded the Chicago Emerging Minority Developer Initiative. The overall aim is to increase the field of community-focused developers in Chicago.
Reflecting on his mission, CAR President Antje Gehrken praised Walker in the press release. “For Leon, commercial real estate development is about more than just creating buildings, it’s also about supporting traditionally disinvested communities to help positively impact our communities and residents.”
“Leon’s love for Chicago shines through in all of his projects, and he continues to be an inspiration for other current or aspiring minority developers,” concluded CAR Foundation Chair Rachel Scheid.
Walker will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame on September 23, 2022, at CAR’s 139th Inaugural Gala.