Coming from hedge funds and private equity, I was accustomed to a more traditional investment approach, one constrained by an inability to match capital to the investment at hand. What excited me about joining DRW was our proprietary capital and opportunistic approach, and how this would position us for success in real estate and other illiquid markets.
Convexity Properties was born following the financial crisis, with a focus on purchasing distressed real estate and giving it new purpose. On each project, we combine a fundamental, longer-term investment methodology with the firm’s trading philosophy, always keeping an eye on liquidity. From our first transaction, the 19th century Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colorado, we’ve been taking that approach.
You can see it in Convexity’s renovation of the Esquire Theater along Chicago’s Oak Street and in the transformation of a former bank at the corner of Milwaukee and Damen into an award-winning Walgreens flagship store, complete with a “vitamin vault.” The Three Arts Club, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, sat vacant for more than 20 years before we repurposed it into RH Gallery, open to the public and home to a world class restaurant.
The approach can also be seen in The Robey Chicago, a former office building originally designed by Perkins, Chatten and Hammond. It’s now a boutique hotel featuring two rooftop bars and a café that has been met with critical acclaim. And we’re continuing to take that approach with Viceroy Chicago, located at the site of the 1920s-era Cedar Hotel, retaining much of the historic architecture that is so much a part of Chicago’s fabric. Transforming these properties into community assets, as they once had been, has created new destinations for Chicagoans and visitors alike.
DRW’s agility and access to capital allows Convexity Properties to maximize investment opportunities and be part of transforming communities – nearly 100 projects and counting. I hope that in another 25 years, I’ll be able to share even more examples of how traditional investment combined with trading acumen can lead to great results.