In Memoriam: Longtime Chicago real estate adviser Martin Stern

“CBRE executive Martin Stern, a longtime real estate adviser to companies, non-profits and local governments including the city of Chicago, died Sunday at age 72 after a brief battle with cancer.

“Stern worked as a consultant on several major real estate deals in the Chicago area, including the sale of the Children’s Memorial Hospital property in Lincoln Park and the Block 37 mixed-use development in the Loop.

“He really made Block 37 happen behind the scenes,” said Robert Wislow, co-founder and former CEO of U.S. Equities Realty, where Stern worked for more than 25 years. “He put the whole package together for the city.”

“For those who had the opportunity to work with Marty over the years, his expansive intellect, engaging style, humor and friendship will be deeply missed,” John Latessa, president of the Midwest division for CBRE, said in a statement.

“Wislow described Stern as a trusted adviser and “deep, deep thinker” who excelled at solving highly complex real estate problems.

“He’d find an approach that no one else thought of,” said Wislow, who recently co-founded a new real estate firm, Parkside Realty. “He could take a complicated situation and make people understand it.”

“Stern played key roles in the redevelopment of Evanston’s downtown and the construction of the Harold Washington Library in the Loop. At Amoco, he worked on Northpoint, a major housing redevelopment in East Rogers Park. The project, which helped stabilize a neighborhood that had been struggling with drugs and crime, won an Award for Excellence from the Urban Land Institute in 1988. Stern was named a ULI trustee in 2016.

“Marty was my go-to guy when I needed somebody who would lend a truly thoughtful ear to a problem or challenge or issue,” Nancy Pacher, CBRE vice chairman and former U.S. Equities executive, wrote in an email. “He was always the smartest guy in the room.”

“Stern was diagnosed with esophageal cancer about five weeks ago but didn’t let it slow him down, going to business meetings as recently as two weeks ago, Wislow said.” (Gallun, 10/15/19)

Per Ward Miller, Marty Stern played a pivotal role in protecting the Church of the Epiphany and Church of the Advent. He worked with the Episcopal Diocese and Preservation Chicago to ensure good preservation outcomes for these important historic structures.

Read the full obituary at Crain’s Chicago Business

Additional Reading
CBRE executive Martin Stern dies after brief bout with cancer; A longtime real estate adviser to companies, nonprofits and local governments, Stern worked on big deals including the Block 37 development in the Loop and the sale of the Children’s Memorial Hospital property in Lincoln Park, Alby Gallun, Crain’s Chicago Business, 10/15/19

Martin Stern, real estate developer who played key role in Harold Washington Library and Block 37, dies at 72, Bob Goldsborough, Chicago Tribune, 10/27/19


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