Nick Brunick


Nick Brunick

Career Overview

Growing up in Dixon, Illinois in a tight knit community gave me a certain perspective on life – everyone should be able to live in a neighborhood with affordable homes, safe streets, and good schools.  Today, as a married father of four living in an urban village, I believe in that perspective even more strongly.

I practice law at Applegate because it gives me the opportunity to make the world more like it should be.  Every day, I am blessed to come to work with other like-minded professionals who are passionate about making a difference.   We use our knowledge in corporate, real estate, financing, zoning, and tax law to effectively mix private enterprise, social vision, and public policy to create transformative projects.

I represent developers (both for-profit and not-for-profit) who are using a variety of financing sources to build or rehab housing, to launch new businesses, or to create schools, health centers, grocery stores, early childhood centers, manufacturing facilities, or other enterprises or institutions that are needed for healthy and competitive communities.  I also represent lenders who are bringing capital to underserved communities, creating innovative loan funds, and providing financing for affordable housing and small businesses.  From supportive housing for homeless veterans to affordable apartments for working-class families, our clients address the full spectrum of affordable housing needs in every kind of community and housing market.

In addition to structuring creative real estate projects, I enjoy serving as general counsel to a number of community development corporations (CDCs), housing developers, and CDFI lenders advising them on broader strategic and corporate issues.  And I enjoy spending significant time advocating and building support for affordable housing and for efforts to create jobs and opportunity in urban, suburban and rural communities.

Community Involvement

When I’m not spending time with my family or coaching my kids’ in sports, I’m active on a number of civic and not-for-profit boards focused on advocating and organizing for affordable housing, economic development, and equal opportunity.

Over the past five years, I have especially enjoyed my involvement through my parish – Ascension Parish in Oak Park —  with United Power for Action and Justice (UPAJ) and the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) on the Reclaiming Southwest Chicago initiative in Chicago Lawn.  United Power and SWOP have created over 100 affordable homes and apartments, decreased the crime rate by 55%, improved the quality of local schools, doubled property values, and decreased the number of vacant buildings from over 700 to under 200, all in a neighborhood that was devastated by the foreclosure crisis after the 2008 recession.  Reclaiming SW Chicago stands as a clear testament to me that we can do more to bring jobs, housing, and hope to urban, suburban and rural communities that need it if we act strategically, holistically, and at scale.

Selected Publications:

    • Nicholas J. Brunick and Patrick O’B. Maier, Renewing the Land of Opportunity, 19: Journal of Affordable Housing and Community Development Law 2 (Winter 2010).
    • Author, Compensatory Benefits to Developers for the Provision of Affordable Housing: Lessons from the National Experience. Prepared for the State of New Jersey, Council on Affordable Housing (November 5, 2007).
    • Author, “Case Studies in Inclusionary Housing: The City of Chicago,” Zoning Practice. Chicago, IL: American Planning Association (March 2007).

Professional Affiliations

Board President, Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI)

General Counsel and Board Secretary, Community Investment Corporation (CIC)

Advisory Board Member, First Eagle Bank

Board Member, Full Circle Communities, Inc.

Vice-President, Illinois Housing Council

Advisory Board Member, The Resurrection Project

Executive Board Member, United Power of Action and Justice

Member of Leadership Committee, The Preservation Compact

Member, Chicago Council of Lawyers

Past Board Member, Chicago Foundation for Women

Past Board Chair, Eleanor Foundation


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