Affordable Chicago

Jacob da Builder takes Bronzeville by storm

Chances are, if you’ve taken a drive through Bronzeville recently, the name “Jacob da Builder” sounds somewhat familiar. Our partner, Frank Montro sat down with Jacob Dochee so we could get a feel for how he’s changing the historic Bronzeville housing market.

The real estate developer, in an interview with Chicago Mag talks about his upcoming projects and how he sees Bronevilles future delevopment:

A lot of people say I should go up North because my look is a nice North Side look. But this is already happening all over up there. What am I gonna prove? I like this area because it has a lot of potential. I’m from the area, down at 49th. My father owned a lot of buildings in Bronzeville—hundreds of homes—doing REOs in the 1960s. He was buying Greystones for $2,000, $1,500. If he bought a few, the mayor would give him extra lots to redevelop for a buck.

Other developers get mad at me for selling cheap, calling me up saying I’m driving the market down. It’s not really about that for me. I believe in selling homes to families and leaving equity in there. That wasn’t happening when the market crashed. My competitors are selling similar homes for $200,000 more than mine. They sit on the market longer, but do eventually sell. I believe in leaving $100,000 to $150,000 in homes instead of maxing out and sucking everything out of a deal. 

I love it when people move in these homes and start crying. Sometimes it’s a middle-aged buyer in their first home. I did a two-flat at 7234 South Lafayette. The buyer was 80 years old and never owned a home in her life. She bought it with her daughter, who moved in upstairs.

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