Steve Spinell, as a Valparaiso University Civil Engineering Graduate, started his career in 1985 as an assistant resident engineer for a consulting firm charged with managing the Eisenhower and Dan Ryan reconstruction projects. Soon thereafter he followed his brother Dick into the real estate industry. Twenty-six years later, Spinell remains passionate and committed to an industry that is ever changing.
“I enjoy being a part of a team of professionals who have a vision, develop a plan and then execute with the team to make the plan a reality.” Spinell said, president of Kinzie Real Estate Group. “A great example is Kinzie’s general contracting assignments – working with developers on new ground-up developments/single-family homes, as well as working with financial institutions and private equity firms to revive distressed and partially completed assets that didn’t make it through the recent down turn.”
What Spinell most enjoys about the current market is the amount of opportunities and clients that are in need of the various services that Kinzie has to offer. “Whether it’s Development Sales and Marketing, General Contracting, Project Management, Property Management or Development Services needed to evaluate, plan and restart stalled projects, Kinzie is the fully integrated group to work with.”
“Every morning while driving to the city, I get the constant reminder of suburban development as well as the large-scale development going on within the city. It’s getting to be an exciting time for real estate again.”
Over the course of his career, Spinell has learned many things, but says making sure you’re diversified—not keeping all of your eggs in one basket— is the biggest lesson of all.
“Kinzie prides itself on having a diverse line of services, which gives us the ability to be entrepreneurial in spirit and nimble,” he said. “The majority of my career was spent being a fully integrated developer focusing on zoning, entitling and building for our own account. When the market took a turn in 2008, I spent time reinventing myself, and my team, to provide workout and receivership services, asset management, property management, brokerage and contracting for Banks, Private Equity Firms and smaller investment groups.
“The Kinzie partners and managers have different real estate experiences, which has enabled us to create a real estate services company different than most.
As banks sell partially completed projects, private equity firms need to reposition their note purchases and developers get back in the game for new ground-up projects, this year Kinzie has had the good fortune to be able to serve each type of clients’ needs.
“The Enclave of Heritage Estates, a single-family estate-style community in Barrington Hills, is one example of a client work- out of a partially completed single-family residential community that needed to be repositioned. With a plan and the people in place to sell and build the remaining lots and homes we have been able to get to a half-way point in the project within the last year. Along the same lines we are currently in the process of working out a townhome community in Frankfort, preparing to list the final phase of eco-friendly townhomes at Church Street Village in Evanston, completing and selling condos in Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood, plus selling out the final 60-plus condominiums at Burr Ridge Village Center.”
“Our brokerage division is doing terrific, too, with several notable sales this year, including a home designed by David Adler in Winnetka as well as many high end homes in the city and suburbs.”
He continued, “Our General Contracting group, including project management and accounting, has been retained to oversee $120 million in multi-family ground-up development work. Those projects include a 304-unit luxury rental community, The Oaks of Vernon Hills; a 231-unit luxury rental community in Orland Park; and a 288-unit luxury rental community in Wheeling.”
Spinell has been influenced both in business and life by his father, his father-in-law and his brother. Among many things, each has demonstrated how to be an overall respectable leader.
When Spinell isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with family, friends and his faith. “My three oldest children (Samantha, Steven, Briana) and my niece (Christina) all attended Miami University (Oxford, Ohio). They all graduated from the Farmer School of Business, and Steven played Hockey for the Redhawks as well. My younger son (Michael) plans on attending there next year along with my younger nieces (Isabella and Sofia) soon thereafter.”