Foundation News

James Persino

Monday, July 11, 2016

Mr. Persino’s varied real estate experience started in 1971 and includes multi-family and commercial development, property management, leasing, general brokerage, investment counseling, tenant representation, and construction. He is now the sole shareholder and President of First Development Corporation and is the sole owner of all their properties. He is personally responsible for the management and administration of all property in First Development Corporation’s portfolio, including, but not limited to, site selection, project conception and all aspects of development, including negotiating transactions with such clients as New York Life Insurance Company, Moore Business Forms, General American Life Insurance Company, the former White Hen Pantry chain, FlatTop Grill, Baskin-Robbins, Caribou Coffee, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Target, Radio Shack, Great Clips, H & R Block, The Bedding Experts, Payless, AT & T and other national & regional chains.

Mr. Persino has been an Illinois licensed real estate broker since 1972, but primarily acts as a principal in his transactions. He previously served as the Chairman of the Lincolnwood Economic Development Commission for 23 years. He is also a founding member and past president of the Chicagoland Association of Shopping Center Owners (CASCO) and a member of ICSC. He typically joins the local chamber of commerce in the areas in which he has a property. He was the Chairman of and instrumental in the creation of Special Service Area (SSA) #8 in Chicago’s Lake View East neighborhood where he redeveloped a full city block of street-front retail. He also worked on creating two other SSAs in Chicago and in Downers Grove, Illinois.

First Development Corporation is primarily a developer of specialty and convenience retail properties including in-city street-front retail strips kept for their own account. Their expertise includes land assemblage, rezoning sites, negotiating and obtaining entitlements, obtaining development financing, and shepherding the project from concept to completion. They have purchased old gas station sites, cleaned them up, and developed retail strips on them, returning the properties to productive use. Their expertise includes ground-up new construction development and rehabbing existing buildings. They only deal in value-added opportunities and have never had any investors. All developments have been done with their own capital and typically with loans only from local community banks.