Midwest Real Estate News Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame: Taft Stettinius & Hollister’s Kathryn Kovitz Arnold

Each year, Midwest Real Estate News inducts a new class into its Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame. This year, we are also showcasing our Hall of Fame winners online. It’s our hope that these profiles will show readers the work it takes to be a Hall of Famer. This time we profile Kathryn Kovitz Arnold, practice group chair and partner with the Chicago office of law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister.

Bio: One of the strongest trends in Chicago-area real estate is the drive to fill the demand for more apartments, and often, Kathryn Kovitz Arnold is at the wheel.

The lawyer is making some of the most notable condominium-building “de-conversions” happen. Salient among them? The Bel Harbour condominium tower, a classic 30-story, 207-unit high-rise overlooking Belmont Harbor and Lake Michigan. A partner in the law firm of Taft Stettinius and Hollister LLP, Kovitz Arnold led the firm’s condo de-conversion team in the $51.5 million 2016 acquisition of Bel Harbour’s condo units by Strategic Properties of North America, and their change to rental units.

She was similarly out front last year in the $35 million acquisition by Strategic Properties of the 133-unit Clark Place condominium tower in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, and its de-conversion to apartments – about a decade after the building had been converted in the other direction.

She also handled the de-conversion of the Country Faire condominiums in Grayslake, an exurban town north of the city.

Change agent: For more than 25 years, Arnold Kovitz, chairwoman of her firm’s real estate and condominium groups, has been a key figure in the reshaping of many of Chicago’s most diverse neighborhoods and business communities. In addition to her recent concentration on the de-conversion market, her wide-ranging practice has focused on real estate development, commercial and residential condominium development and conversion, mixed-use projects, restaurants, leasing, mixed-use high-rise development, vertical subdivisions and separations, and representation of lenders, and borrowers, in commercial financing transactions.

She’s been the key woman in developments and redevelopments ranging from the big mixed-use Midtown Crossing project in Omaha, Nebraska, to the acquisition and redevelopment of the Leveque Tower in Columbus, Ohio, to a substantial multi-family development in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Authoritative voice: Kovitz Arnold speaks for the National Business Institute at condo law seminars, and guest-lectures at the Illinois Institute of Technology and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Last year, she served as a judge of the Kellogg Real Estate Venture Competition, which awarded the winning team $100,000 in cash and prizes, plus the opportunity to secure up to $10 million in equity funding.

She has also drafted and consulted on new condominium laws and local ordinances, and chaired the Chicago Bar Association’s Condominium Subcommittee for six straight years. Kovitz Arnold is also active in Commercial Real Estate Executive Women (CREW) of Chicago, a group dedicated to advancing women in commercial real estate.

What makes her tick: “I am approachable, upbeat and have a deep knowledge of the industry. I like what I do.”

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