By the time Leo Solarte (BB, ’09; MSRE, ’11) finished his master’s in real estate in 2011, he had racked up 40,000 miles driving to properties on the potholed streets of Chicago’s South Side. Taking nine classes in one semester and managing the retail division of First Western Properties, a real estate firm, left time for little else. The passenger seat of his 2004 Cadillac CTS held his essentials: scattered listing sheets, textbooks, brochures and a computer. But it was worth it for Solarte. He had a legacy to leave.
“I bleed Chicago,” he said. “I love this city and want to leave my stamp on it. It’s my own little way of going down in the history books on a local scale.”
As co-founder and managing partner of boutique real estate firm Greenstone Partners, Solarte is driven to give back to his city, a trait he inherited from a long lineage of Chicago pioneers. His fifth great-grandfather signed the Declaration of Independence, and his family settled in Chicago in the 1860s and most are still in the area. Solarte says earning a reputation as an honest and ambitious businessman is his way of leaving a legacy his children can be proud of, and he’s off to a strong start. He was made an honoree of the National Association of Realtors’ 30 Under 30 Class of 2012, a CoStar Retail Power Broker for 2011, 2012 and 2013, and has been named Top Retail Leasing & Sales Agent annually since 2010 by the Chicago Association of Realtors’ Commercial Forum.
Read more in the Roosevelt Review.