Richard Stein: Chicago has the right stuff for a housing, economic rebound

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Richard Stein

Richard Stein is a realist. He also knows his real estate. He’s senior managing director of Chicago-based commercial real estate developer Mesirow Financial, so when he says that Chicago’s housing market and economy are poised to boom again once the nation’s economic recovery picks up more momentum, I believe him.

The problem is, I believe him, too, when he says that he has no real idea of when Chicago’s inevitable boom time will arrive. It comes down to that whole “realist” thing.

“I can’t project the future, but I think it’s still going to be several years before the economy really straightens out,” Stein told me. “Everyone realizes now that this is one big world that is closely knit together. Look at what’s happening across the globe. Germany has to come up with money because Greece was overspending. That’s not much different than Illinois and California. We are all interconnected today. We all have to work together to get through our problems.”

That doesn’t sound so optimistic. No one wants to hear that a healthier economy is several years away. But Stein isn’t one to sell false hopes.

He does provide hope, though. He says that Chicago has everything a city needs for a quick rebound once the economic recovery does pick up speed, whenever that may be.

“Chicago is a 24/7 city,” Stein said. “People like that. It’s the kind of city that people want to move to. It’s also a city in which companies want to do business. It is centrally located. It has great rail service. It has O’Hare Airport. It has a terrific, well-educated workforce. We have great museums here. We have great institutions of higher eduction. We have the professionals sports teams here. Chicago has what you need for a strong, fast-paced recovery.”

Now, if only anyone knew when this strong recovery is gong to take place, we’d be set.

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