Examining the Future for Wilmette’s Local Businesses & Housing Options

Wilmette Talk #3 | Tuesday, May 31st | 6-8PM

On Tuesday, May 31st at 6:00 pm we heard from a range of experts across two panel discussions, followed by Q&A discussion with the audience. Panel #1 focused on business, commerce, and demographics in Wilmette, and Panel #2 dove into housing options and needs specific to our community.

Thank You to Our Panelists!

Moderator: Michael Blue has a split his 35+ year planning career between consulting and working for municipalities.  Currently a Principal at Teska Associates in Evanston, Michael’s work focuses on comprehensive and special area plans, drafting development codes, and organizational development. He previously spent eleven years as Director of Community Development in Highland Park, IL. There he managed a department of 30 and focused on all aspects of planning and building. His Department served nine City Commissions addressing the issues of development, housing, historic preservation, cultural arts, and the natural environment. Previously, he was Deputy Community Development Director in the Village of Mount Prospect, IL for five years and started his career out of college as a consultant. Michael has both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign. He lives in Deerfield, IL with his wife, three sons (who are out of the house now, sort of) and two cats.

Presenter: Christen Hayes is a Project Manager at Goodman Williams Group, and has contributed to numerous market feasibility analyses involving residential, retail, office, and industrial land uses in the City of Chicago and surrounding communities. She holds a masters degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Housing Panel

Jane Gallery is the founder and Board President of Our Place, a program based in Wilmette which supports teens and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities so they can live meaningful lives in their home community. She is also a founding member of Our House Communities which provides innovative housing options for adults with disabilities. 

Jeff Head is the Vice President of Development for the Habitat Affordable Group and also serves as Chair of the Wilmette Housing Commission, after previously serving on the Wilmette Plan Commission. Jeff manages the financing and development for the Habitat Company’s affordable housing portfolio. Over his 20 years with Habitat, Jeff has worked with agencies such as the Chicago Housing Authority, Illinois Housing Development Authority, City of Chicago and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He has been involved in transactions that have invested more than $1 billion in Chicago neighborhood housing developments.

Richard Koenig, PhD, FAICP, is Executive Director of Housing Opportunity Development Corporation, is a nonprofit that develops and manages affordable housing throughout Chicago’s northern suburbs. He has developed over 500 affordable units for low income households including a new 16 unit affordable project in Wilmette.

Maxine Mitchell is the President of Applied Real Estate Analysis (AREA), Inc., which she founded in 1985.  She has extensive experience in real estate market analysis and public policy planning. A major focus of her work has been affordable housing needs analyses and development strategies for cities located across the country, including current assignments in Atlanta, Baltimore, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Chicago’s suburbs. She has also conducted numerous nationwide research assignments for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, analyzing policies and programs to encourage homeownership, rental housing development, housing for persons with disabilities, and neighborhood preservation and development.

John Nash has worked as a Wilmette based Realtor for the past 29 years. He grew up in Wilmette where his dad also worked as a Realtor and sold homes for 50 years, and was his first mentor. John has sold hundreds of Wilmette homes and has carefully watched and analyzed the housing market in Wilmette for the past 3 decades. Prior to selling real estate, John served in the Army and is a Bronze Star recipient. He works with his brother Ted Nash, and together they are The Nash Team. They work for Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty. 

Commercial Panel

Linda Goodman is President of Goodman Williams Group, where she specializes in analyzing market trends and creating development strategies for public- and private-sector clients. Through numerous real estate cycles, she has analyzed opportunities for residential, retail, office, and industrial projects in the Chicago region.

Sam Grill is President of Forum Properties, Inc. and has been involved in the acquisition, development, construction, and management of various types of buildings in the Chicago area. Projects include condominium conversions, apartment building renovations, medical and retail building renovations and repositioning, entitlement of raw land, and third-party general contracting services. Forum has developed custom and spec homes in Chicago and the North Shore suburbs as well as subdivisions in the North, South and Northwest suburbs.

Brendan Reedy is Senior Vice President in the Retail Advisory Group of CBRE.  Brendan has an extensive background in retail leasing having represented numerous high profile retail assets and new developments and having executed over 1,000 lease and sale transactions. His current portfolio includes 80+ retail centers in the Chicago market and has direct experience working on Wilmette properties including Plaza Del Lago, Westlake Plaza, Wil-Ridge Plaza, Lake Street Plaza and Edens Plaza.

David Stone has consistently been one of the leading landlord and tenant representatives in the Chicago area and was named the Chicago Retail Broker of the Year by Crain’s Chicago Business. Prior to forming Stone Real Estate Corporation, David served for eight years as Vice President/Director of Retail Leasing at M & J Wilkow, Ltd., a Chicago-based commercial real estate investment company. He started his Real Estate career at CBRE’s Downtown Chicago office, focusing on urban retail. David’s experience in Wilmette retail includes 10 years as the leasing agent for Plaza del Lago, as well as being the original leasing agent for Optima Center and the former Jos A Bank/Panera shopping center.

Dave Zier is the owner of Zier’s Prime Meats and Poultry, located on Ridge Road in Wilmette. Zier’s Prime Meats is an “old-fashioned family butcher shop in a modern time” – it has been in business since 1985, transitioning from a local market providing everyday meats and dry goods to the premier meat market in the north shore of Chicago.