Waterton Co-Founder Vilim set to shift into ‘semi-retirement’ as vice chairman

Peter VilimPeter Vilim, co-founder of real estate investing and operating firm Waterton, is shifting from co-chairman to vice chairman, the Chicago-based firm said Thursday.

Vilim took over as vice chairman as a part of a planned semi-retirement plan, which went into effect Jan. 1. The position, which is newly created, will allow Vilim to work with a number of local and national organizations that are focused on affordable housing and homeless services to low-income families and individuals.

Waterton was founded in 1995 by Vilim and Chief Executive Officer David Schwartz. Vilim will maintain his stake as the second-largest owner in the company on top of his equity stake in the firm’s existing property investments. Vilim will stay on with the company’s Investment Committee and Advisory Board.

“Waterton has over 20 years of experience in value-add real estate investment, as well as adding value through community service,” Vilim said. “As I transition my focus to the latter, I hope to find ways to apply the techniques, systems and technologies Waterton has developed to help preserve affordable housing and prevent homelessness.”

Specifically, Vilim has focused his efforts around needs associated with “the space between,” which refers to the widening gap between government-funded housing assistance and conventional income-qualifying rentals. Most housing assistance programs are offered to households earning up to 60 percent of a region’s adjusted median income (AMI), while market-rate rentals that qualify prospects using traditional income multipliers generally serve households at or above 100 percent AMI.

Vilim has become increasingly involved with various organizations dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness, including Bridge Communities, Forefront, Cara, Thresholds, Inspiration Corporation and Mercy Housing Lakefront. In 2015, Vilim was named president of the board of directors for All Chicago – Making Homelessness History, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to ending homelessness in the city of Chicago. He also sits on the board of Housing Partnership Equity Trust.

“I’m incredibly proud of everything we’ve been able to accomplish so far, and know community investment will always be a core pillar of our business as a result of Pete’s efforts,” Schwartz said. “He may be calling this a ‘semi-retirement,’ but knowing Pete, he’s just getting started.”