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BMO makes first direct equity investment in commercial development with DL3 Realty Advisors

February 23, 2022 | Financial inclusion

BMO and DL3 Realty Advisors, LLC, a Black-owned commercial real estate development firm whose Venture Development model is leading a new wave of institutional investment in Chicago’s neighborhoods, announced an equity partnership in the redevelopment of a vacant big box store that will create 1,000 new jobs in the Chatham neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. This direct equity investment is the first of its kind in a commercial property for the bank and underscores the growing attractivenes of DL3’s institutional investment strategy focused on revitalizing historically disinvested neighborthoods.

BMO’s $6 million investment will fund improvements to the property located on South Cottage Grove Avenue in Chicago. The vacant 10 acre retail site is being redeveloped into a corporate call center and training facility creating high quality jobs in the community. Situated within a larger retail shopping center, at a busy intersection, and in a historically vibrant community, the property was a strong candidate for redevelopment.

“At risk private capital can be an agent for positive social change, and we need to find more ways for investment to flow into our neighborhoods,” said Leon I. Walker, managing prinicipal of DL3 . “We hope BMO’s equity investment together with a long term national tenant lease in the Chatham property will encourage other corporate stakeholders to pursue equity investment opportunities that revitalize neighborhoods.”

Carl Jenkins, managing director and group head of BMO’s Community Investments Group added, “DL3 turned a large vacant commercial building into a high impact community asset. This development is a perfect example of how investing conventional equity in neighborhoods requires a commitment to understanding actual versus perceived risks. We consistently find double bottom line investment opportunities where at-risk capital can play a critical role in transforming communities without sacrificing risk-adjusted returns. The added bonus for me is that I was raised just a few blocks away from this property.”

BMO’s Community Investments Group helps developers and organizations by providing capital and financial expertise for projects with high social and economic impact in low- and moderate-income communities.Their work supports BMO’s commitment to small business expansion, increased availability of quality, affordable housing and targeted community-based commercial real estate.

The investment also supports BMO EMpower – our series of long-term commitments to advance inclusive economic recovery and address key barriers faced by underserved businesses, communities and families. The program exceeded early targets with over $2 billion in commitments during the first 12 months of the program.

Learn more about BMO’s commitment to Community Reinvestment in the U.S.

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