David Schwartz, chairman, CEO and co-founder of Chicago-based Waterton, has been inducted into the Chicago Association of Realtors Hall of Fame at a ceremony on September 12th at the Marriott Marquis in Chicago. As a real estate professional with outstanding contributions to the industry, Schwartz joins such luminaries as Marshall Bennett, Dan Levin, Arthur Rubloff, Sam Zell and many others.
Schwartz co-founded Waterton, a national real estate investor and operator, with Pete Vilim in 1995. Over the years, Schwartz has continually raised the bar for leadership in the real estate industry with his character, reputation and contributions to philanthropic and cultural initiatives. His belief in the importance of a “getting things done” and a “culture of nice” sets him and Waterton apart in the real estate industry.
“It’s astounding to think that a meeting with my business partner, Pete Vilim, over strawberry Pop-Tarts in 1995 would ultimately lead to the formation of a company that, in just over 20 years, has invested almost $7 billion in multifamily real estate around the country,” said Schwartz. “This business has been my passion. I love the relationships, the real estate, the opportunities and the process of finding those exceptional deals that have made our portfolio so strong.”
From Schwartz’s start as a tenant broker at AMLI in 1986, to serving as vice president of acquisitions at Equity Residential Properties Trust from 1990 until 1995, to the founding of Waterton, his entrepreneurial spirit is inspirational. At the age of 31, Schwartz channeled his inner entrepreneur and made the bold decision to launch his own firm. Knowing he needed a partner to run the properties, handle the financings and otherwise manage the internal workings of the business, Schwartz met with Vilim and, over that Pop-Tart dinner, the two formed Waterton.
Today, Schwartz oversees the strategic decisions and leadership of Waterton’s business activities and operations, and serves on the firm’s leadership and investment committees. Waterton’s notable properties in Chicago include Presidential Towers, North Harbor Tower, the Montrose and River North Park. The firm recently completed an eight-property, four-state portfolio acquisition with plans to implement Waterton’s vertically integrated strategy in repositioning those assets to maximize returns on the investments. Beyond his business acumen, Schwartz is committed to being a positive force in the communities where Waterton employees live and work.
“My personal and professional passions intersect through my work at Waterton,” said Schwartz. “It’s an unbelievable honor to be counted among Chicago’s most prominent real estate professionals and I lead by example in order to encourage our employees to give their time, talents and resources to local and national causes. I’m particularly proud of the tools we provide to support community engagement as well as our programmatic approach to promoting volunteerism and charitable giving.”
Whether participating at the leadership level, providing charitable donations or days of service work, Waterton is proud to partner with many local and national organizations and charities. Some of the groups Waterton has had the privilege to work alongside and support include All Chicago, All Stars Project of Chicago, Breakthrough, Cara Chicago, Chicago Cares, Inspiration Corporation, Shelters to Shutters and many more.
Schwartz is also active as the vice chairman of the National Multi Housing Council, the Urban Land Institute and Pension Real Estate Association. He serves on the Advisory Council for the Pritzker School of Medicine and the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Chicago, where he graduated from the Booth School of Business with a master’s in business administration. He also has chaired fundraising efforts for the Jewish Federation and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.