When T.J. Rubin founded Fulton Grace realty company in 2009, it was in the middle of a recession.

So Rubin says expanding from Chicago to Evanston during a pandemic actually makes perfect sense.

“I have lived through some challenging times with real estate,” Rubin says. “I started a business during the recession so I’m willing to take chances.”

Fulton Grace is moving in to the vacant GNC vitamin store on Davis Street downtown, with opening targeted for mid-September.

“I wanted to get in during the dip in the economy so when it comes back we’ll be prominently placed,” he explains.

“It was very important,” he says, “to get a space downtown” due to high visibility and ease of access for potential clients.

Fulton Grace (named in part for a Chicago street, and in part for Rubin’s grandmother) has grown into a company with $500 million in annual sales, as well as 5,000 annual rentals and management of nearly 2,000 apartment units.

He sees Evanston as a “thriving community with tons of opportunities.”

“Expanding out of Chicago has been a goal of mine, ” Rubin explains, “and Evanston is the place to do it.”

He anticipates having 10-15 agents as well as office staff based at the Davis Street location.

There are currently 325 agents working out of four Chicago offices, and 50 employees.

“We’re a serious player” in Chicago, Rubin says, “and we’re going to be a serious player in Evanston.”

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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