Albert M. Friedman, CEO and President of Friedman Properties, Ltd., is a prominent, Chicago-based, real estate developer, preservationist and civic leader. Friedman's projects have earned him national recognition for his early practice of adaptive re-use and his leadership in the renaissance of Chicago's River North neighborhood.
Friedman's passion for the City of Chicago and his unique commitment to civic-minded development have shaped his company's growth over the past 35 years. Now a full service real estate development firm, Friedman Properties owns and manages more than 50 properties throughout the Chicago area and has been instrumental in the redevelopment and integration of 12 full city blocks.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Friedman is recognized as a driving force behind the revitalization of River North. Through his innovative application of urban planning, preservation, adaptive re-use, and new construction, Friedman has transformed the area into one of Chicago’s most vibrant communities. Today, Friedman Properties is one of River North’s leading landlords with a tenant list that includes many of the city's most prominent businesses and organizations, retailers, and hospitality, dining and entertainment establishments.
Early Professional Career
Albert Friedman founded Friedman Properties in 1970 with the restoration and conversion into artists' studios of a 19th century limestone building in the virtually abandoned River North neighborhood. Then considered one of Chicago's worst slums, the neighborhood's entrenched urban blight had frightened away all but the most determined owners. Despite these bleak prospects, Friedman soon became the neighborhood's most prominent champion and leading proprietor, earning him the nickname "Mayor of River North". Seeing potential where others saw teardowns, Friedman began investing in the neighborhood's most valuable asset – its rich stock of historic buildings. One by one, he rehabilitated the neighborhood's historic streetscape, partnering with pioneering tenants, many of whom are now leading luminaries in the city's artistic and culinary communities. In 1985, when Friedman completed his restoration of the storied Cook County Courthouse Building, the neighborhood's transformation was well underway.
Friedman's leadership in economic development and preservation caught the eye of Chicago's Mayor, Richard M. Daley, who called on Friedman to lend his expertise to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. As a member and later Chairman of the City of Chicago Landmarks Commission, Friedman played a key role in the preservation and protection of historic buildings throughout the city. In 1995, he was named "Preservationist of the Year" by the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois, the highest honor given by the state's top preservation advocacy organization. When internationally recognized treasures, Medinah Temple and Tree Studios, faced imminent demolition, government leaders again turned to Friedman for help. With the clock ticking on the buildings' fate, Friedman led a coalition of prominent investors who entered into a landmark agreement with the City and State to save the entire historic city block. Friedman Properties' economically thriving redevelopment of Medinah Temple and Tree Studios is now seen as a nationally recognized model for how private-public partnerships can be used to enable preservation.
Community and charitable organizations throughout the city have called upon Friedman for leadership and support as well. He has led initiatives for groups as varied as the Lawson House YMCA, the Boy Scouts of America, the Chicago International Film Festival, the Prairie Avenue House Museums, and Erikson Institute, a highly respected graduate school in child development. He continues to serve as an honorary leader for the River North Association, a neighborhood organization he founded and guided for more than a decade. In addition to his wide range of charitable activities, Friedman has helped lead the business community's efforts to strengthen the city's economy. A member of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, and the past president of the prestigious Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, Friedman currently uses his economic expertise as the Chair of the Chicago Workforce Board, which develops partnerships between the city's business, labor, and public sectors to address the education and job training needs of the city's 21st century workplace.
Current Professional Career
Guided by Albert Friedman, Friedman Properties continues to expand its work of urban renewal throughout Chicago and the surrounding area. Friedman Properties has been widely praised for its development of the Goodman Theater Center, a new architectural landmark that has anchored Chicago's rejuvenated downtown entertainment district. The company also has established a presence in the South Loop, one of Chicago's upcoming neighborhoods, where a trademark Friedman re-development project anchors a retail complex, bringing much needed services to the area's booming population. At home in Friedman's River North community, the company currently is constructing a Silver LEED certified, Class A office tower, which promises to headline the next stage of the neighborhood's – and the company's – continuing evolution.
Friedman's dedication to Chicago and his deep roots in the community are shared by his wife Suzanne Friedman, Friedman Properties' senior interior designer. Their son, Jason Friedman is Vice President of Project Development at Friedman Properties, and his daughter Julie Friedman is a Social Entrepreneur in Chicago.
A graduate of the DePaul University School of Law, Friedman's accomplishments have been recognized by organizations ranging from the Chicago Bar Association to the National Conference for Community and Justice. Though his career is far from its conclusion, his induction into the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame is a testament to the impact Albert Friedman already has made on the landscape of one of America's greatest cities.
- ↑ http://www.friedmanproperties.com/buildings/ Friedman Properties
- ↑ "River North: From gritty roots to urban chic". www.chicagotribune.com (Chicago Tribune). 2008. http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/communities/chi-river-north_chomes_0711jul11,0,1786787.story. Retrieved 2008-07-11.
- ↑ http://www.chicagorealestatedaily.com/article/20060830/CRED03/200021883/mayor-of-river-north-buys-mesirow-financials-hq Crain's Chicago Business
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