Despite continuous news about real estate companies leaving the suburban part of Downtown Chicago, the industry experts are saying exactly the opposite. According to them, the suburban real estate market in absolutely healthy.
At the Daily Herald Business Ledger Newsmakers’ Forum on Construction and Real Estate held at Hilton Lisle/ Naperville, 90 suburban leaders discussed the exact same thing.
Suburban real estate market is not going down
Art Rendak, President of Inland Mortgage Capital Corp. based in Oakbrook Terrace, said the suburban real estate market continues to prove strong despite uncertainty in the economy. “The economy should be doing better than it is, obviously,” Rendak said, noting that low oil prices, mortgage rates, and unemployment figures should be translating into a more robust economy.
He also added that suburban real estate, especially industrial and office properties, has been strong, as companies grow and relocate to larger facilities. He talked about how the distribution industry has risen, as new facilities are continuously coming up to handle the growing demand locally.
“You just can drive from Wilmington, up (Interstate) 55 to Bolingbrook to see the tremendous growth of industrial,” Rendak said. “Especially if you’re outside Cook County, where the taxes are cheaper, you’re going to continue to see a lot of growth in the distribution sector.”
Similarly, Bryan Gay, economic development director of noted DuPage County’s surge in growth in the number of businesses over the years. In 2015, he said, 900 new small businesses opened in the county. “These small businesses are the lifeblood of DuPage County,” Gay said. “Since 2010, we’ve seen over 3,000 new businesses in DuPage County.”
Gay also discussed how small businesses are just as important as their large counterparts. As a result, these small businesses generate local jobs and invest in the communities they are in. He added that, of the 60,000 new jobs created in DuPage County since 2010, small businesses accounted for 60 percent of that growth.
Real estate industry leaders their thoughts
Suburban leaders also discussed how the educated workforce is the main reason for the draw to the suburbs for business. Daniel Allen, executive director of the Construction Industry Service Corporation (CISCO), added that the region also benefits from the educated construction workforce as well.
“Union contractors have the highest educated skilled workforce in the world,” Allen said, pointing to education apprentice programs that are funded through union contractors and employees and are created through collective bargaining agreements.
Allen was critical of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s right to work initiative, which he said would undermine the funding of the apprenticeship programs and lead to construction deficiencies created by unskilled workers.
“On the outside work may look good, but the lack and training and skills create ticking time bombs of public safety issues,” Allen said. “Most of the problems develop over the years after construction.”
“The term ‘right to work for less’ is a misnomer,” he added. “It’s a policy that prohibits a union from negotiating security clauses with these small businesses.”
Presenting sponsors of the Newsmakers Forum are the Inland Real Estate Group of Companies and CISCO. Marketing partners are GOA Regional Business Association, the Management Association, MRA, the Small Business Advisory Council, and the chambers of commerce of Greater Oak Brook, Lisle, and Naperville.