As part of our series, CRE Future Leaders, we caught up Jordan Silver, managing director at Baker Development Corporation. Silver has a background in finance and has underwritten over $1 billion of multifamily, office, retail and industrial real estate in his career.
Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up, where did you go to school?
I grew up in Northbrook, the oldest of three siblings, and attended Glenbrook North High School where I played soccer and was in a comedy troupe. Then I went to Indiana University where I graduated with a finance degree and psychology minor. Bloomington is the best.
When you were young, what did you aspire to be?
When I gave up my dream of making the NBA (ha!), I aspired to be in the “business world” like my dad, an attorney. I used to pester him to tell me what kind of deals he was working on, explain them to me and understand how he was going to handle them. I have always been a critical thinker and problem solver, but it wasn’t until college when I started interning for various companies that I realized I had a passion for real estate.
How did you get your start in the industry?
My first internship was with an acquisitions/property management company. I spent some days banging down doors (literally and figuratively) to collect rent from tenants and others building models to underwrite potential acquisitions. It was then that I realized my skill set was ideal for real estate—it is the perfect mix of interpersonal relationships, analysis and problem solving.
Did you have a mentor who helped you get on your feet, or is there someone you turn to now for support?
I have always turned to my dad for both career and life advice. He and I are very similar, and we kind of think in sync. He has a really level head when it comes to making decisions and handling various situations. His advice has been invaluable to me.
What does a day in the life of Jordan Silver look like?
I start my day around 5 a.m. by working out and walking my dog. Being at an entrepreneurial company like Baker Development Corp. is great because I have a multi-faceted role; I actively seek new development opportunities and facilitate much of the development process from inception to completion. My days consist of any combination of the following: financial analysis, asset management, due diligence, construction management, government approvals, property marketing and leasing oversight. I spend my mornings checking in on our various development projects, which are typically at different phases, to ensure things are moving along, and then spend afternoons in the office.
What do you like most about your job?
1. I love working with entrepreneurs to execute a vision. At Baker Development Corp., we look at things differently than most developers—we develop to not only create value but also to create change, which you can see looking at two of our developments right now, ELEVATE Lincoln Park, a 191-unit apartment building with 16,000 square feet of retail space, and 2017 N. Mendell, the first Class A office building in the North Branch Corridor.
ELEVATE is the first new construction mid-rise in Lincoln Park in 30 years, and it’s breathing life into Lincoln Ave. With ELEVATE, we’ve brought the level of style and amenities you would normally only find in a downtown high rise to one of city’s best neighborhoods. Similarly, our 2017 N. Mendell redevelopment is an old industrial building tucked away behind a tannery that we converted to a 62,000-square-foot, high-tech loft office development.
2. Problem solving. I spend the vast majority of my day critically thinking and solving problems. I love it.
How do you spend your time away from the office?
Outside of Baker, I team up with my dad to help chefs open their own restaurants, working with them to develop a business plan, financials, secure space and raise capital. Some of the top chefs in Chicago including John and Karen Shields (Smyth + The Loyalist) and Iliana Regan (Kitsune) have worked with us, among others. I love helping these incredibly creative and talented chefs realize their dreams. Other than that, I spend most of my time with my fiancé, Ashley, and our dog, Crosby. I cook a lot, am an avid English Premier League fan and tap into that childhood NBA dream by playing basketball whenever I can.
What is your favorite place that you have traveled to? Where do you hope to go next?
I studied abroad in London—an amazing city. I really want to do a trip to South America to hike Patagonia in Argentina and visit Easter Island off the coast of Chile.