Corridor of Fame James D. Letchinger: Fearless, Proud and Pushed…By no means Happy with Common!


Born and raised in downtown Chicago, James D. Letchinger admired skyscrapers and high-rises from a younger age. “I watched town get constructed,” he mentioned. “I used to be very shut with my father. We might drive across the metropolis, and each time there was a brand new constructing going up, he would touch upon it, saying ‘these guys construct buildings.’ I needed to be a kind of guys.”

Following his commencement from the College of Michigan, he based a lighting and design studio, which gave him the expertise and connections to pursue his dream of being an actual property developer; in 1993, he based JDL Improvement. His first undertaking reworked 21 flats into 5 distinctive residential condominiums at 210 E. Walton Road, a 1940’s Benjamin Marshall constructing. Shortly, he earned a popularity as one among Chicago’s most artistic and revered residential builders, specializing in vertical, city improvement, the place his experience in entitlement and infill design is second to none.

“He’s so magnetic — individuals wish to purchase from him,” Nancy Tassone, Jameson Sotheby’s Worldwide Realty, mentioned. “He’s actually reworked himself from beginning with customized single-family houses and townhomes, to now, the place he’s on the high of the posh apartment market.”

His hands-on method in all JDL’s initiatives, from inception to completion, has ensured JDL’s survival by a number of actual property cycles. Right this moment, he’s one among Chicago’s preeminent residential actual property builders, a development that’s anticipated to proceed, as his two kids and his son-in-law have adopted in his footsteps, securing his legacy for a few years to return.

“He’s aggressive; he doesn’t wish to lose,” longtime collaborator Jim Plunkard, Hartshorne Plunkard Structure, mentioned. “He’ll establish a undertaking and do no matter he has to do to get it. It’s his superpower.”

Each his imaginative and prescient and knack for understanding precisely what luxurious patrons need had been on full show when, in 2019, he delivered No. 9 Walton, the costliest and unique assortment of condominiums ever developed in Chicago. Gross sales at No. 9 Walton dominated headlines all over the world and smashed quite a few actual property information in Chicago.

Many would have been content material to take a step again and chill out following that undertaking’s success — however not James. Building is almost full on his latest vertical oasis, One Chicago, a pair of boutique luxurious way of life buildings in River North that cap out at 75 and 49 tales tall.

“I don’t know the place his limits are,” Larry Krueger, Wanxiang America Actual Property Group, mentioned. “I haven’t seen them but.”

As of this 12 months, JDL has delivered greater than 1,900 residential models, with one other 2,900 in several levels of improvement. James credit a lot of his success to his deep Chicago roots and unyielding love of town. “Everybody who is aware of me is aware of I really like Chicago; I feel it’s the best metropolis on earth,” he mentioned. “I wish to depart Chicago a greater place than I discovered it, and I need individuals to drive round and discuss our buildings. It’s vital that they’re well-regarded for years to return, as a result of they’re going to be round so much longer than I’ll.”

Congratulations, James, in your induction into the Corridor of Fame.

Watch James’ Corridor of Fame induction speech and take a look at his video.