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Chicago real estate developments

In the 1900s, Chicago became the center of operations for seven real estate associations. Local brokers were influential in establishing real estate exchanges. These organizations influenced real estate throughout the century.

Willis Tower
Photo by Scott Olson

The National Association of Real Estate Exchanges was founded on May 12, 1908, in the YMCA Auditorium in Chicago. There were 120 founding members, 19 boards and one state association. In 1916, it was renamed the National Association of Real Estate Boards. In that same year, the term ‘realtor’ was invented by Charles N. Chadbourn of Minneapolis and adopted by the association. In 1923, the association developed the largest library of real estate publications in the world. In 1972, it was renamed the National Association of Realtors.

The National Association of Realtors was founded to promote ethical standards in real estate. These ethical practices included not selling properties that would change racial makeup of community. These standards inspired National Housing Acts of 1949 and 1954.

In 1933, the Institute of Real Estate Management, an organization within the NAR, was founded in Chicago. This institute serves the multi-family and commercial sectors of real estate and is dedicated to ethical practices, maintaining maximum value of real estate investments and promoting education and information sharing. It is an international organization of 19,041 individuals, 580 companies, 80 domestic chapters and 13 international chapters.

Urban Renewal legislation in Chicago in the 1950s changed Chicago’s real estate market. It gave Chicago’s hospital, university and community boards the power of eminent domain. These boards authorized the clearing of areas for developments like Sandburg Village, Lake Meadows, Prairie Shores, Hyde Park A and B, and Lincoln Park I and II. Dirkson, Daley and Thompson Centers, University of Illinois at Chicago, McCormick Place and the Harold Washington Library were new public buildings that were also constructed.

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