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Food Depository’s largest annual fundraiser raises more than $1.1 million for hunger-relief in Cook County

About 1,600 of Chicago’s top commercial real estate professionals gathered at the Salt Shed Wednesday, May 1, to celebrate the 36th Annual Chicago Commercial Real Estate Awards, presented by Associated Bank, and to support the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

More than $1.1 million was raised to support the Food Depository’s mission to end hunger at a time when need remains elevated across Chicago and Cook County.

The awards dinner – considered to be the top awards event for those in Chicago’s commercial real estate industry – is also the largest annual fundraiser for the Food Depository. The partnership began in 1989 and has remained throughout some of the country’s most challenging crises.

“The steadfast support of our friends in the commercial real estate industry has helped ensure that hundreds of thousands of our neighbors in Chicago and Cook County have access to the healthy, nutritious food they need to thrive,” said Kate Maehr, Food Depository Executive Director and CEO.

“This support is critical as many of our neighbors are still working to regain financial stability after the challenges of the past few years.”

Due to the lingering effects of inflation, elevated food and housing prices and the rollback of crucial pandemic-era public assistance programs, additional neighbors are visiting food pantries. During the first three months of 2024, the Food Depository’s network of partner food pantries across Cook County served 26 percent more guests than the same period last year. That increase represents approximately 125,000 extra households served. Thankfully, we are able to keep up with the demand for food thanks to valued partners like the commercial real estate industry.

JLL was one of the big winners of the night, taking home awards for Project Manager of the Year, Property Management Company of the Year, Industrial Broker of the Year (Sam Durkin) and Retail Broker of the Year (Matt Ramsey).

The award for Special Achievement of the Year went to The Goldie Initiative, which invests in the careers of women in the real estate industry. The event’s venue, the Salt Shed, was recognized as the Redevelopment of the Year (Blue Star Properties, R2 Companies).

The awardees were chosen by those in attendance, with each ticket holder receiving voting rights – a new system this year allowing more attendees to participate in the voting process. Brian Brodeur of Article Student Living served as the Event Chair and Josie Peacock with Birge & Held was the Executive Vice-Chair.

The event was presented by Associated Bank and the media sponsor was Crain’s Chicago Business. Ventas sponsored the VIP reception. CRG, LJC and Clayco sponsored the cocktail reception, and The Telos Group sponsored the Lunchbox Challenge. Val Warner, ABC7 News Anchor/Windy City Weekend Co-Host, served as the awards ceremony host.


Architect of the Year:

  • Wright Heerema Architects

Civic Development of the Year:

  • Howard Brown Health Halsted (Eckenhoff Saunders)

Community Impact Project of the Year:

  • Lathrop Phase 1B (HED, Related Midwest, Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation, Heartland Housing, JGMA, MVVA, MIA)

Deal of the Year – Data, Industrial and Investment:

  • Sears Headquarters Sale, Hoffman Estates, IL (Colliers, Transformco)

Deal of the Year – Office:

  • Invenergy Office Expansion (CBRE; Telos Group, LLC; 601 West)

Developer of the Year:

  • Hines

Engineer of the Year:

  • Syska Hennessy Group, Inc.

General Contractor of the Year:

  • Pepper Construction

Industrial Broker of the Year:

  • Sam Durkin (JLL)

Industrial Development of the Year:

  • The Cubes at Country Club Hills - SOLO Cup / Dart Container (CRG)

Institutional Investment Broker of the Year:

  • Michael Caprile, Ryan Bain, Zach Graham and Joe Horrigan (CBRE)

Interior Contractor of the Year:

  • Skender

Interior Design Firm of the Year:

  • Lamar Johnson Collaborative

Office Development of the Year:

  • Salesforce Tower Chicago | 333 West Wolf Point Plaza (Hines)

Office Landlord Representative of the Year:

  • Jack O'Brien (Telos Group, LLC)

Office Tenant Representative of the Year:

  • Mark Cassata, Bill Sheehy, and Brady Wolfe (CBRE)

Professional Services Firm of the Year:

  • Polsinelli

Project Manager of the Year:

  • JLL Project & Development Services

Property Management Company of the Year:

  • JLL

Redevelopment of the Year:

  • The Salt Shed (Blue Star Properties, R2 Companies)

Residential Development of the Year:

  • Onni Fulton Market (Onni Group)

Retail Broker of the Year:

  • Matt Ramsey (JLL)

Special Achievement of the Year:

  • The Goldie Initiative

For more information about the awards, visit

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