Ben Applegate


Ben Applegate

Commitment to Clients and Communities

As housing and community development attorneys in private practice, we have the very unique opportunity to “do good and do well.” My practice started with the pro bono representation of several non-profit developers utilizing low income housing tax credits in the very early years of the program. Having been exposed to my clients’ community development efforts and meeting the people they serve, I developed both a personal and professional passion for doing what I can to expand the supply of safe and affordable housing.

Since its founding in 1986, I have worked closely with Lakefront SRO Corporation (now Mercy Housing Lakefront), as lawyer, volunteer and board member. Lakefront was a pioneer in developing a unique model for delivering housing with supportive services to address the needs of low income individuals by preserving the dwindling stock of single room occupancy apartments in Chicago.

Career Overview

Current Focus: My current practice involves the representation of profit and non-profit developers, syndicators and direct investors involved with projects utilizing the syndication of low-income housing tax credits. I am a frequent speaker throughout the country on the structuring and negotiation of affordable housing development transactions.

This diverse national practice provides me the unique understanding of and appreciation for the business issues my clients face and the opportunity to be a problem solver as issues arise. I enjoy the role of not only legal technician, but business advisor and counselor.

Highlights: I am the former managing partner and a founding member of Applegate & Thorne-Thomsen. I have overseen the growth of our firm from a five-attorney firm representing primarily local developers to a nationwide practice representing investors, syndicators, lenders, public housing agencies and service providers in all aspects of housing and community development. I’ve had the pleasure of having leadership roles in several national organizations, including the American Bar Association Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development and the National Housing and Rehabilitation Association.

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
    • Past Chair, Governing Committee of Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law
  • Director and Founding President, Illinois Housing Council
  • Executive Committee Member and Past President, National Housing and Rehabilitation Association
  • Member, Metropolitan Planning Council
  • Past Chair, Member of Board of Directors, Chicago Continuum of Care on Homelessness
  • Board Member, Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition


Our attorneys have a passion for helping our clients reclaim and re-invigorate neighborhoods and cities. We represent developers, tax credit syndicators, investors, tax-exempt community development organizations and public housing authorities. They trust us to get the job done–please come talk with us to learn why you should too.

Let’s Work Together