Friday, March 23, 2018 | 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Real Estate Speculations: How Fast Money Overbuilt Chicago
Looking at the case of Chicago’s downtown during the 2000s, I show how novel financial instruments, such as commercial mortgage backed securities, boosted liquidity in global capital markets and set off a chain reaction of building acquisitions and construction despite anemic economic growth. Because financial markets cannot impose new spatial orders on their own, I highlight the intermediating practices of local real estate brokers, investment advisors, and property appraisers who guided capital surpluses toward specific sites and building types. By stabilizing meanings and fueling aspirational consumption, these professionals helped construct occupant and investor demand for these assets and shuffled tenants from marginally older buildings into the new towers lining the historic core. They were aided by tax benefits and planning changes that removed the detritus left over from prior waves of expansion.