Joel M. Carlins | Magellan Development Group

Chairman Emeritus

Joel M. Carlins

Joel Carlins, founder of Magellan Development Group LLC, has been instrumental in the company’s growth and continuing success. Carlins has been part of the supervision of the overall activities of the development group, from acquisition of raw land through financing, property development, design, construction and marketing.  River North, The New Eastside and the Gold Coast neighborhoods are thriving today because of the impact of Magellan’s developments.

Since its inception in 1996, Magellan has developed 25 mostly mixed-use communities encompassing over 8,000 residential units, that in aggregate have generated over $5 billion in value. Magellan has created an entire award-winning 28-acre neighborhood, Lakeshore East, a village in the heart of the city. Carlins’ vision has been instrumental in revitalizing the New Eastside neighborhood since its conception.  Magellan has implemented all aspects from financing, design, master planning and marketing to garnering community and civic support. The newest addition to the Lakeshore East community will be the third tallest building in Chicago, Vista Tower. The tower will consist of condominiums and a 5-star Hotel.

Historically, Magellan’s focus is urban high-rise projects in the city of Chicago. While still maintaining this urban focus, Magellan is expanding its footprint to other first and second tier US cities including Nashville, Minneapolis, Miami, Boston and Austin.

Carlins attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois and a Juris Doctor of Law degree from DePaul University. He is a member of the Sigma Delta Chi professional journalism society. He is licensed to practice law in Illinois and the Virgin Islands, and has practiced law throughout the United States as well as several foreign countries.

His legal experience spans all aspects of real estate development, where he has represented developers, architects, contractors and related professionals. As an attorney/developer Carlins has also been retained by national and local pension funds, syndication companies, lenders, asset managers and banks to supervise the disposition of real estate assets in several states. Properties included raw land, single and multifamily rentals, condominium developments, hotel, golf course, retail, commercial and marina developments.

Carlins’ personal development experience covers a broad swath that includes high-rise residential, commercial and retail properties, hotels and medical facilities. His first development experience was the restoration of the Skokie Swift Terminal Building, which is classified as a historic landmark in Skokie, Illinois.

He has lectured on various topics at several academic institutions as well as numerous real estate and professional organizations including Real Estate Investment Association, the Illinois Bar Association, Crain’s Real Estate Forum and the Illinois CPA Society. In addition, Carlins was honored by the Anti-Defamation League with the 2002 Arthur Rubloff Humanitarian Award, and was inducted into the Chicago Real Estate Hall of Fame in August 2007.

Carlins previously has served or is actively involved in an extensive list of charitable and community organizations including:

  • President of Patrons of Washington Square Park, an organization that raised funds through a series of events and worked with the Chicago Park District and the City of Chicago for the restoration of the park also known as the legendary “Bughouse Square”
  • Director and past president of the Yul Brynner Cancer Research Foundation
  • Co-chairman of the NFL Mackey Awards Banquet on behalf of the Better Boys Foundation
  • Sponsor and instructor for baseball programs for children in Uptown, in conjunction with the Community Services Department of the Chicago Police Department
  • Sponsor and instructor for sailing programs on behalf of children at St. Joseph’s, a half-way house in Chicago, and for hearing-impaired students attending St. Joseph’s Institute in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Founder and sponsor of Ogden Elementary School mentor and scholarship programs
  • Former Director of River North Association Board of Directors
  • Director of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Assn
  • Advisory Board member of the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business
  • Member of the Auxiliary Board of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Member of the Chicago Development Council
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the Lawson House YMCA
  • Board of Directors of the Chicago Architecture Foundation
  • Member of the City Club of Chicago
  • Member of Chicago Chamber of Commerce
  • Member of the Executive Board of the Roosevelt University Real Estate MBA program
  • Council of Regents at Loyola University Chicago