David Baum
Chief Executive Officer

David Baum is a leading figure in Chicago's real estate development and retail leasing communities. Since co-founding Baum Development, LLC in 1989 and Baum Realty Group, Inc. in 1991, David has cultivated the business from a start-up company into an award-winning commercial and residential development firm and Chicago's leading retail brokerage firm.

Baum Development (www.baumdevelopment.com), a triple bottom line development company, has received eight Chicago Association of Realtors Good Neighbor Awards and a Preservation Excellence Award from the City of Chicago for work in adaptive reuse and historic preservation. In 2012, Baum Development won the Bruce Abrams Award (Development of the Year) from the Chicago Association of Realtors and the Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards For Profit “Best Of The Best” for their Green Exchange Project; the project was also certified LEED Platinum by the US Green Building Council. David has successfully led Baum in the development of more than 90 residential, retail, office and mixed-use developments throughout the Chicago area and the Western United States.

Chicago-based Baum Realty Group, LLC (Baum Realty, www.baumrealty.com) is one of the nation's premier retail brokerage firms. For more than 20 years, the award-winning company has provided comprehensive real estate services for a diversified clientele of top property owners as well as national, regional and local retailers such as Starbucks, FedEx Office, US Bank, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Jared The Galleria of Jewelry and many others.

David is often a featured speaker for real estate and business groups, Universities and forums and was named one of Crain's Chicago Business' "40 Under 40" leaders and was featured in Real Estate Chicago's "40 Under 40" edition as well.

David is an advisor for the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), a non-profit organization serving underdeveloped communities. He serves as a mentor for students at DePaul University's School of Real Estate, of which Baum Realty is a founding sponsor. David is a contributor to Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Beige Book and is a member of ICSC, The Economic Club of Chicago and the U.S. Green Business Council. In addition, he coaches AYSO soccer teams.

Mike Demetriou
President / Managing Broker

Mike Demetriou joined Baum Realty as Chief Operating Officer in 2012 and became Baum Realty’s President in 2016. Mike handles the day to day management and operations for Baum Realty, with a focus on business development and recruiting.

An attorney, Mike was previously associated with Sidley Austin and Dentons where he focused on the financing, acquisition, disposition, and leasing of commercial real estate throughout the country. Significant representations included KeyBank, JPMorgan Chase, Metro Storage, Royal Bank of Scotland, Starwood and Wells Fargo. His practice also included zoning and land use matters for businesses and universities as well as non-profit entities. On a pro-bono basis, Mike also represented the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and Mike also served as general counsel to The Cara Foundation.

Prior to his career as an attorney, Mike worked in executive compensation for Hughes and Lucent and managed business development for a closely held telecommunications consulting firm. Mike received a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and a law degree, with honors, from Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Mike volunteers his time with the Lake View Pantry, and he currently sits on the Board of the Francis W. Parker School. He is also an active member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) Chicago-Windy City Chapter.

Deena Zimmerman
Principal / Broker

Deena Zimmerman is an award-winning broker with nearly twenty years of industry experience. Known as a star tenant rep, she is sought after by national brands, multi-unit franchisees, and even first-time entrepreneurs nationwide for site selection rollouts across both Chicagoland and the entire country.

She also specializes in the sale and leasing of retail, investment, and development properties. Deena is a trusted expert in Cannabis real estate, and she is regarded nationally for her business development efforts and her expertise in retail site selection and curation.

As Principal at Baum Realty Group, Deena’s role is centered on national business development as well as commercial redevelopment and adaptive reuse projects across the Country. Deena’s incredible network of relationships stems in large part from her involvement in several local and national organizations. She is the 2024 Commercial Liaison for the National Association of Realtors, and she is a member of ICSC, WIRL (Women in Retail Leasing), and has served as a Mentor and is a longtime supporter of the Goldie Wolfe Miller Women Leaders in Real Estate Initiative. In 2021 she was named one of the top 25 most influential women in Commercial Real Estate and has been named annually by CREi as a top social media influencer in commercial real estate. Deena is a recognized industry leader and public speaker, presenting at national conferences, and to industry groups and associations throughout the United States in addition to guest spots on national television, radio, and podcasts.

Ari Topper, CFA
Principal / Broker

Ari is a seasoned and respected commercial real estate broker with nearly 20 years of experience practicing real estate. Born and raised in the Chicago area, Ari joined Baum Realty in 2018, specializing in investment sales brokerage, commercial leasing, and investment advisory services. His firm grasp on real estate finance and underwriting, combined with his advanced interpersonal skills make Ari a rare “double threat” in the brokerage world. Ari has experience with a wide variety of property types such as multi-family, retail, office, and industrial and has represented sellers, buyers, landlords, and tenants in his career.

Ari holds the highly regarded Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, the LEED-AP designation, and is a licensed real estate salesperson in the State of Illinois. He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan with a concentration in finance.

Jacqueline Martin
Principal / Broker

Jackie joined Baum Realty in 2015 and serves as an Associate with Baum’s Investment Sales team. Jackie’s focus is to grow and development new business on a local and national level.

Prior to joining Baum Realty, Jackie worked at Mid-America Real Estate Group in suburban Chicago. During her tenure there, Jackie adapted and grew her knowledge base in various departments within the company including accounting, property management and client relations. She was responsible for actively participating in request for proposals (RFP) for new business, assisting in tenant lease language negotiations, developing and implementing procedures to properly quote triple nets for prospective tenants, abstracting and enforcing legal documents (inclusive of tenant leases and OEA agreements), and overseeing the due diligence process for property acquisitions and dispositions. Furthermore, she was responsible for managing property funds by overseeing cost control and addressing tenant receivable issues to collect delinquencies consistently in order to meet projected NOI. Jackie was also responsible for completing annual budgets, conducting strategic reviews, financial variance analysis, and market overviews for both institutional clients and sole proprietors.

Jackie is an active member of ICSC and a licensed Illinois Real Estate Broker.

Jackie earned her bachelor’s degree Cum Laude with a double emphasis in Finance and Management / Organizational Behavior from Benedictine University, where she was a member of her collegiate volleyball team. When not in the office, Jackie can be found playing co-ed sports along the lakefront, traveling to new places, or spending time with family and friends.

Lee Dickson
Managing Director / Broker

Lee leads Baum Realty’s Entertainment Practice focusing on incomparable performing arts organizations, immersive and experiential location-based entertainment concepts, hospitality professionals, musicians, magicians and other intriguing visionaries to meet their unusual real estate requirements. She locates remarkable, unique spaces that work well for this growing list of clients and makes creative, mutually beneficial deals for landlord and tenant. Her clients’ needs are not always understandable to commercial brokers focusing on office, retail or industrial. Theirs is a special language and she speaks it fluently.

Notable representations include Lighthouse Immersive (Immersive Van Gogh), Starvox Exhibits (The Art of Banksy), Original X Productions (Harry Potter - Magic at Play), Round Room (F1 - The Exhibition and Tupac Shakar. Wake Me When I'm Free), Immersive Co. (Perceptual Shift), Chicago Magic Company (The Magic Parlour), Albany Park Theater Project (Port of Entry), Peanuts International, Future Gallerie, Revel Global Events, The Paramount Group and Nirvana Center Dispensaries (that's entertainment, too, isn't it?).

Lee joined Baum Realty after a successful run at the helm of Dickson & Co., her commercial real estate brokerage firm specializing in urban leasing and sales. She and her partners established The Retail Group, the first brokerage firm in Chicago to specialize in retail properties and tenant representation. Later, she joined forces with Friedman Properties to create three boutique shared office suites businesses which heralded today’s popular co-working spaces. As their Director of Retail, Lee marketed and leased the block known as Tree Studios and Medinah Temple.

Doug Renner
Managing Director / Broker

Douglas Renner joined Baum Realty in 2006 bringing with him over a decade of retail experience. As a Managing Director at Baum Realty, his focus is to oversee third party leasing representation for owners, developers, and investors of retail shopping centers, single tenant investments, mixed use developments and portfolio management of disposition assignments. Doug’s clientele range from big-box grocery anchored centers and urban infill mixed use retail to single tenant net lease assets.

Doug has a 20+ year track record of success and has been responsible for lease and sale transactions valued in excess of $700 million and 2 million square feet. Doug’s successes include implementing market strategies for national, regional and local tenants as well as developers and investment landlords. Notably, Doug was responsible for leasing a competitive stretch of North Michigan Avenue between 2 and 20 North Michigan to Starbucks, Panera, and Remington’s Restaurant that changed the complexion of the street.

Past and present clients include Newcastle Limited, Duetsche Bank, RREEF, Structured Development, Cedar Street Capital, Convexity, R2 Companies, Excess Space (on behalf of CVS Pharmacies), 4 Star Restaurant Group (Remington’s, Windsor, Smoke Daddy and Crosby’s Kitchen), Home Run Inn Pizza, Cosi, Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Harbor Freight Tools, Harlem Irving Companies, Prime Group, Capri Capital, and Regency Centers.

Doug is an active member of ICSC, Chicago Commercial Real Estate Networking Club, Corporate Real Estate and Retail Site Selection Professionals. In 2014, he was a CoStar Power Broker Award winner. Charitably, he is involved in the Chicago Real Estate Annual Food Drive for the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Opportunity Through Baseball, providing education and skill coaching for at risk children, Gilda’s Club and other national and local causes.

Doug holds a BA and a Master’s Degree both from the Ohio University.

Michael Meksto
Managing Director / Broker

Mike joined Baum Realty in 2019 as a Managing Director in the firm's Tenant Representation division, bringing with him diversified experience in corporate operations, in-house development, land acquisition, project leasing, dispositions and tenant representation. Prior to joining Baum Realty, Mike formed his own company called The Meksto Group, Inc., a brokerage, consulting and development company.

In addition to his work with The Meksto Group, Mike has consulted with Megalytics, Inc., a firm that provides advanced data mining and analytical analysis to the Commercial Real Estate Industry. Megalytics clients include institutional investors, national commercial real estate firms, as well as corporations that benefit from advanced analytics in their decisions surrounding commercial real estate locations, valuations and business partnerships.

Prior to forming his own company, Mike was Senior Vice President / Managing Director Retail with NAI Hiffman headquartered in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. NAI Hiffman responsibilities included management of the Retail Brokerage Team, shopping center leasing, tenant representation as well as land acquisition for valued clients throughout the Wisconsin, Illinois and NW Indiana markets

Before association at NAI Hiffman, Mike was a Vice President of Development with Dalan / Jupiter Development based in Chicago, Illinois. He was responsible for land acquisition, project leasing and sales as well as lease and sale contract negotiations with tenant representation. Mike was involved with over 1,000,000 square feet of shopping center developments along the Randall Road corridor in Batavia, Geneva and St. Charles, Illinois.

Prior to joining Dalan / Jupiter Development, Mike was a Vice President with the firm of Tanguay / Burke / Stratton. While at TBS, Mike was responsible for the Home Depot and Target site selection process and was the coordinator for the marketing and sale of the excess Target properties throughout the entire Chicago Metropolitan market.

Before Tanguay / Burke / Stratton Mike begin his Commercial Real Estate Career as a retail broker with CB commercial. Mike was a “Top Ten” regionally ranked producer as a retail specialist in the Oak Brook, Illinois Office. Mike spent seven years at CB Commercial concentrating on retail leasing, land sales / acquisitions and tenant representation.

Mike is a member of ICSC, a former Chairman of the NAI Global Retail Executive Committee, and an Illinois Retail Broker of the Year Finalist in 2013.

Mike attended Utah State University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science. He is a member of the Alumni Association, Life Loyal Sig / Sigma Chi Fraternity and Football Letterman.

Kevin Gallagher
Managing Director / Broker

Kevin Gallagher specializes in retail site selection for national tenants and developers, and in the sale and leasing of retail properties. Since 2006, Kevin has represented tenants locally and regionally as they seek to expand or optimize their retail locations. Notably, Kevin has worked continually with JP Morgan Chase Bank for over 15 years to help execute the bank’s real estate needs. Kevin represented several restaurant groups including Buffalo Wild Wings, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Domino’s Pizza, and Ditka’s Restaurant Group. He has also represented medium to large box users including PGA Golf Superstore, Seafood City, and Floor and Décor (Lombard).

Kevin has represented preferred developers First Equity Group and Millco Investments in their site selection efforts for CVS Pharmacy and Dollar General throughout Illinois and the greater Midwest region.

Kevin has successfully leased both existing and new retail centers throughout the Chicagoland market. He successfully procures national tenants and strong local operators for landlords. In addition, he helps owners with long-term strategy and planning for their real estate portfolios.

Additionally, Kevin is a member of ICSC and is in process of completing his qualifications as a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM).

In his spare time, Kevin is an avid climber and runner.

Kevin graduated from Indiana University in 2004 as a double major in English and Philosophy.

Josh Crane
Managing Director

Josh Crane joined Baum Realty in 2023, bringing more than 20 years of leasing experience to the role of Managing Director. Previously, Josh focused on leasing real estate in-house. He takes a very personal, ownership-like approach to leasing space, delivering all-encompassing services from negotiating new and renewal leases to the marketing and brand development of the assets he represents. With deep experience covering real estate from new construction to landmark buildings, his range of office and medical office expertise allows him to understand the different goals and objectives of each of his clients and their assets.

Before joining Baum Realty, Josh was a partner at Merit Partners and had success working for companies such as Golub & Company, Friedman Properties, and M&J Wilkow. Josh is an Illinois-licensed real estate broker and an alumnus of the University of Arizona, where he majored in Communications.

Paul Fishbein
Managing Director

Paul Fishbein joined Baum Realty in 2023, bringing over 30 years of invaluable experience in commercial real estate. Paul is renowned for his exceptional redevelopment, leasing, and sales work. Paul brings an unwavering commitment to excellence and integrity to every project he undertakes. With a visionary approach, he has achieved remarkable results, positioning properties for exceptional value creation for building owners and tenants.

An award-winning developer, Paul’s expertise shines in revitalizing large-scale vacant properties. Before joining Baum Realty, Paul founded Merit Partners, a Chicago-based firm focused on redeveloping office and mixed-use properties. Among his notable achievements was redeveloping the 1.5 million square foot former Marshall Field campus at 4000 West Diversey. Under Paul's strategic guidance, the project became an award-winning success, breathing new life into the massive building and revitalizing the surrounding area.

Before forming Merit, Paul held influential positions at Centrum Properties and Amerimar Enterprises for 16 years, where he achieved remarkable success as a developer and broker. His track record boasts $750 million in successful developments, leasing, and sales.

Paul is a US Green Building Council LEED Green Associate and an alumnus of the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he majored in Economics. His commitment to sustainability and development excellence and a strong track record of delivering meaningful economic returns have transformed Paul into a sought-after development partner and a driving force in commercial real estate development.

Chuck Whitlock Image

Chuck Whitlock

Senior Vice President / Broker (312) 275-3133
Chuck Whitlock
Senior Vice President / Broker

Charles Whitlock is a Senior Vice President at Baum Realty specializing in the sale and leasing of office, retail, and industrial property in the West Loop, River West, Wicker Park, River North, Goose Island, Lincoln Park, Andersonville, Roscoe Village, Downtown Chicago, the Greater Chicago market, as well as the Denver Metro.

Charles has a comprehensive real estate background, including experience in land use, zoning, financial modeling and real estate development. He has worked on complex projects involving regional lifestyle centers, transit oriented developments, retail pad sites, landlord representation and tenant representation.

A licensed real estate broker in Colorado and Illinois, Charles earned his Bachelor's degree from the University of Denver. He attended the University of Economics in Prague, Czech Republic. He is actively involved with the Chicago Association of Realtors (CAR), and the University of Denver Alumni Organization.

Mark Fredericks Image

Mark Fredericks

Senior Vice President / Broker (312) 275-3109
Mark Fredericks
Senior Vice President / Broker

Mark Fredericks joined Baum Realty’s Landlord Representation team in 2017, bringing with him more than ten years of professional expertise in all aspects of the leasing retail shopping centers.

Mark carries a high level of skill and an impressive track record of success in leasing grocery anchored centers, multi-tenant outlots, urban retail sites, and suburban strip centers. His talent for identifying prospects for retail strip centers, researching and interpreting tenant’s business and financial sustainability, negotiating letters of intent and leases has been praised by local and national clients alike.

Prior to joining Baum Realty, Mark worked for Regency Centers, Edgemark CRE, and The Lord Companies. Mark has leased multiple power center developments within the Chicagoland area, including junior anchors and outlots, re-merchandised and leased lifestyle centers as well as multi-tenant outlot buildings. He was responsible for the leasing of a 17 property portfolio of grocery anchored shopping centers, totaling over 2.8 million square feet throughout Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota.

Mark graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. He has been a licensed Real Estate Broker since 2007 and is a member of ICSC. Mark lives in Chicago with his wife and son.

Dan Molnar
Vice President / Broker

Dan Molnar joined Baum Realty in 2012. He specializes in retail tenant and landlord representation with a focus on downtown Chicago and the surrounding suburban markets. As a member of Baum Realty’s Tenant Representation Group, Dan has secured hundreds of leases for tenants throughout Chicagoland. Representations include Starbucks, Cresco Labs, Naf Naf Grill, Jimmy John's, Dotty’s, Primrose Schools, Susie Cakes, Cold Stone Creamery, Akahoshi Ramen (aka Ramen Lord) and Zemsky's, in addition to numerous independent retailers, restaurants and landlords.

Prior to joining Baum Realty, Dan worked as a broker at Colliers International where he helped establish their Chicago retail division. During his time there, he exclusively represented accounts including Palm Beach Tan, European Wax Center, Granite City Food & Brewery and Ace Hardware.

Dan is an active member of ICSC, Young Real Estate Professionals and ICSC Next Generation. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Emory University where he was a member of the varsity baseball team. Dan is a licensed real estate broker in the state of Illinois.

Tyler Dechter
Vice President / Broker

Tyler Dechter joined Baum Realty in 2018. A vital team member, Tyler works on middle market investment sales assignments throughout the Midwest and has made key contributions to multiple successfully completed sales and leasing transactions.

Primarily focused on live-bid online auction transactions, Tyler also works on traditional sales assignments and provides all aspects of property due diligence and underwriting as well as landlord representation services and market analyses to his client base which includes private equity and debt funds, banks, family offices, corporations, and individuals throughout the country.

Prior to joining Baum Realty, Tyler worked at Simon Property Group (NYSE: SPG). Tyler is an active member of the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council, ICSC, Urban Land Institute, and The Junior Council of Lurie Children’s Hospital. Tyler was named a top 25 Ten-X broker expert nationally by volume in 2021 and was awarded the CoStar Power Broker award in 2020. Tyler is a licensed Illinois Real Estate Broker. Tyler was born in Northbrook, IL and graduated from Butler University, earning his bachelor’s degree in finance. When not in the office, Tyler can be found on the golf course or spending time with family and friends

Nicole Cardot
Vice President / Broker

Nicole Cardot joined Baum Realty in 2010. She provides both tenant and landlord representation services with a focus on downtown Chicago and the surrounding suburban markets. Nicole represents Chipotle, Starbucks, Silver Mirror, and Xponential Fitness Brands including Club Pilates, Yoga 6, Stretch Lab, Cycle Bar, Row House, BFT, Rumble, Lindora, and a variety of independent retailers and restaurants. She also represents numerous landlords including Campus Acquisitions, Akara Partners, Speedwagon Properties, GW Properties, Hines, and Newcastle Limited.

As a vital member of Baum Realty’s Tenant Representation Group, Nicole has secured high-profile lease and purchase opportunities on behalf of tenants, landlords, and sellers in Chicago’s most desirable downtown retail markets including the Gold Coast, Loop, River North, Bucktown / Wicker Park, and the West Loop.

Nicole graduated from Indiana University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Apparel Merchandising. Nicole is an active member of ICSC, ICSC Next Generation, Woman in Retail Leasing (WIRL), CREW, and Indiana Real Estate Alumni Association. Nicole is a licensed real estate broker in the state of Illinois.

Owen Wiesner
Senior Associate / Broker

Owen joined Baum Realty in June 2021. As a member of the firm's Investment Sales and Urban Office & Flex teams, Owen provides significant contributions to current leasing and investment sales assignments including conducting due diligence, market research, and proactively seeking out new business opportunities.

Prior to joining Baum Realty, Owen interned at CapRock Real Estate on the acquisitions team where his primary focus was finding investment grade multifamily buildings in secondary and tertiary markets that met acquisition criteria. This included conducting demographic market analysis, due diligence, and interfacing with owners and brokers to establish meaningful connections.

Owen is an active member of the Real Estate Investment Association (REIA) and the DePaul Real Estate Alumni Alliance (DREAA).

Owen graduated from DePaul University’s Driehaus School of Business, earning a bachelor’s degree in real estate with a minor in photography. When not in the office, Owen enjoys his free time spent biking, golfing, and skiing.

Kira Ford
Associate / Broker

Kira joined Baum Realty in August 2021 as a member of the Landlord Representation team with a focus on both downtown Chicago and suburban markets. Kira contributes to the team by aiding in current leasing assignments, marketing research, and seeking out prospective tenants. Additionally, Kira provides support to the tenant representation team by delving into various markets that fit into the client’s needs.

Kira is a licensed Real Estate Broker in Illinois and an active member of ICSC.

She graduated from University of San Diego with a degree in Psychology, double minoring in French and Business Administration. In her free time, Kira enjoys spending time with friends and making lifestyle vlogs on her YouTube channel.