We’re in the middle of something of a property development boom in Chicago – and it’s inspiring more and more people to start pursuing their biggest real estate investment and development goals. 

As the Chicago Tribune recently noted, our area is “almost a decade into a real estate development boom,” with 2019 poised to be the “year of the megadevelopment.” There are several enormous (and enormously talked about) development projects moving forward at the time of this writing, including Lincoln Yards, “the 78,” and the Chicago Spire. As Curbed has noted, there are also several “supertall” skyscrapers poised to change the horizon in the near future. And development isn’t just limited to the Loop or River North. Instead, neighborhoods all around the region are seeing a building boom, led by developers of all backgrounds and experience levels. 

Interested in residential or commercial property development in Chicagoland? It’s important to go in prepared, realizing that development can be difficult – and comes with any number of intricate, essential legal considerations, even under the best of circumstances. 

Real estate development can be incredibly complex, and it’s important to recognize that there are many different moving parts that, when added together, can create a puzzling and frustrating environment – whether this is your first development project or your fiftieth. 

In other words? The difference between successfully moving a project forward, and backing off from your biggest development goals, could come down to the smallest details – or stem from some aspect of the “big picture” that’s easy to overlook. 

In many ways, one of the most effective steps you can take – whether you’re rebuilding a single-family home on a lot, building your neighborhood’s next hot apartment complex, or, yes, adding a skyscraper that will forever impact the Chicago skyline – is to build the right team, including an effective, efficient, and experienced legal professional. 

For individuals, groups, and firms considering real estate development, there are a number of issues and concerns to be aware of. A real estate attorney can help you to understand and address many of the common concerns related to residential and commercial real estate development, including: 

  • Zoning and land use. In Chicagoland, zoning and land use are incredibly important considerations for developers, regardless of the scale of your project. For developers, there could be various zoning rules or restrictions that might dictate what type of structure you’re allowed to create, and what aesthetic and functional guidelines you must follow as you create it – whether your project is a commercial building, a multi-unit residential building, or even a single-family home. 
  • Historical commissions. Chicago is a city with a rich history – and there are many different groups out there looking to hold onto it. From preservation committees to historical boards to architectural commissions, a project may need to be approved by many different groups along the way. 
  • Permitting, licensing, and construction. When do you need a building permit in Chicago? What types of construction tasks can you perform without a permit? What types of permits do you actually need, for your distinct goals? An experienced local real estate attorney can offer guidance and insights on “how the sausage gets made” when it comes to permitting, construction law, licensing, and more.
  • Environmental impact. Broadly speaking, in-depth environmental impact assessments are a must – for socially conscious developers looking to minimize their effects on the local area, and for any savvy developer hoping to get ahead of environmental threats and concerns.
  • Title searches and clearance. Title disputes and issues are common in Chicagoland – and they have the potential to derail an entire project before it even truly gets started. Whether you’re a couple looking to build a house or an experienced developer converting a commercial property to residential, it’s essential to perform a thorough title search and examination to ensure that you’ll have full access to the property you want to develop, free of encumbrances, liens, judgments, or outside claims of ownership. 
  • Financing, mortgage conveyancing, tax considerations, and like-kind exchanges. A real estate attorney can be a vital partner at every step of the development process, including when it comes to arranging your finances for the sake of your project. An experienced real estate attorney can offer insight and guidance in many different ways, including assisting with 1031 “like-kind” exchanges, which can allow real estate investors to put off capital gain taxes by “swapping” the proceeds as a reinvestment in a similar property.
  • Reviewing and negotiating purchase and sale agreements during transaction. No two real estate transactions are alike. An attorney can help process purchase and sales agreements with expertise and insight, ensuring that your transaction goes as smoothly as humanly possible in the moment, while setting you up for success in your long-term goals. 

Want to Keep the Conversation Going?

Property development takes time, patience, flexibility, and access to a deep well of knowledge. 

As you look to make your biggest Chicagoland real estate dreams come to life, it may help to get in touch with an experienced real estate attorney, who can help get a handle on the specifics of your project, and explore strategies tailor-made for your unique situation.

Have any more questions? The Gunderson Law Firm can help. The attorneys and staff of the Gunderson Law Firm possess unparalleled expertise and insight into real estate development matters, reinforced by years of experience and long-term connections throughout Chicago’s real estate, finance, and insurance industries. In fact, our attorneys are also title insurance agents for several of the top title insurance companies in the world.

From processing purchase and sale agreements and title paperwork, to helping you get through the zoning boards, historical commissions, licensing boards, easement granters, and more with the right papers in the right places, our team can help you make sure you’ve got all the “i’s” dotted and “t’s” crossed correctly, so that your project can move forward as quickly and smoothly as humanly possible.

Have any more questions? Drop us a line to keep the discussion going.