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BMO Makes First Direct Equity Investment in Commercial Development with DL3 Realty Advisors

CHICAGO, Feb. 23, 2022 /CNW/ - BMO Financial Group 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, today 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 attractiveness of DL3's institutional investment strategy focused on revitalizing historically disinvested neighborhoods.

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 made it 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 principal 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 – a 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.

About DL3 Realty Advisors, LLC 
DL3 is a full-service real estate development and advisory firm that employs its nationally recognized Venture Development model to transform historically disinvested communities with high-impact commercial developments and affordable housing projects targeting working families. After a successful career in corporate real estate, Attorney Leon I. Walker, DL3's managing principal, has spent the past 20 years defying the odds through successful development projects that leverage innovative public-private partnerships and, in turn, inspire the next generation of Venture Developers. Over the past five years, DL3's projects have generated more than 3,000 local jobs, and DL3 is working with America's leading corporations to invest and create 10,000 new jobs in Chicago's neighborhoods by 2030.

About BMO Financial Group 
Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider - the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of C$988 billion as of October 31, 2021, and a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets. 

SOURCE BMO Financial Group

For further information: Media contact: Kathleen Szot, BMO Harris Bank,, 312-881-0388