Fairlawn Real Estate

Planning & Design Manager (Real Estate)

Chicago or Champaign,

About the Job

Chicago or Champaign,


We are seeking a highly motivated individual to join the Fairlawn Development team in either Chicago, IL, or Champaign, IL. The ideal candidate will embody Fairlawn’s core values: Be Kind, Own It, Be Flexible, and Always Improve.

The Planning & Design Manager is a newly created role designed to spearhead the feasibility, design, planning, and oversight aspects of our real estate development and renovation projects. The role will report directly to the Chief Investment Officer and support the seamless integration of planning and design within our development initiatives. This individual will play a key role in translating our vision into tangible and sustainable real estate developments.

We are looking for an experienced design professional to lead our design process, collaborate with cross-functional teams, and ensure that our projects align with Fairlawn’s commitment to creating better places. The Planning & Design Manager’s role begins with project feasibility and is an integral player in each step of the development process, through certificate of occupancy and beyond.

Fairlawn is a fast-growing real estate firm with over 130 team members and 5,000 units throughout Illinois and Indiana, and over 900 units under development/construction. If you have a passion for people and take pride in all the details, our Planning & Design Manager role may be perfect for you!

What will you do? 

  • Conduct feasibility studies and site analyses to inform project viability and potential challenges.
  • Develop comprehensive project plans and program statements that align with company goals and regulatory requirements.
  • Recruit, pre-qualify, and engage outside architectural and engineering firms to work on specific projects.
  • Lead the design process, collaborating with architects, engineers, and other stakeholders.
  • Be the Fairlawn expert in land planning concepts and building design.
  • Act as primary liaison with our external architects from the test fit/schematic design phase through construction administration and certificate of occupancy.
  • Assist in developing preliminary project budgets based on industry information and past project data, in order to support economic feasibility analysis.
  • Ensure that designs meet aesthetic, functional, economic, and sustainable criteria.
  • Assemble the project team for each project, delegate responsibilities and tasks to team members, and ensure successful completion.
  • Create and monitor the design project schedules for the projects under your responsibility, determining the critical path to completion, and ensuring the project stays on track to be completed on time and on budget.
  • Stay abreast of local zoning regulations and building codes, periodically conduct zoning and building code research, and interpret and apply relevant building codes as needed.
  • Work closely with the overall development team during entitlement process to obtain necessary approvals and permits.
  • Assist managing project budgets throughout the design process and construction period.
  • Coordinate project material selections, including finishes, fixtures, furniture and equipment, to maintain aesthetic and budgetary goals.
  • Identify value engineering and cost-saving opportunities without compromising quality.
  • Present design concepts to stakeholders and gather feedback for refinement.
  • Work with Fairlawn’s internal marketing team and outside vendors to procure renderings, floorplans and other marketing materials required for investment memorandums, community engagement, and leasing/marketing efforts.
  • Implement quality control processes to ensure adherence to design standards.
  • Conduct regular site visits to assess project progress.
  • Regularly assess and respond to design and constructability questions from construction team.
  • Review, redline and coordinate designs created by outside architects and engineers and respond to and coordinate RFI’s and submittal requests during the construction process.
  • Lead presentations to internal and external stakeholders.
  • Provide consistent and timely communication of project information to and from the project team.
  • Maintain existing building documentation and facilitate as-built drawing creation.
  • Prepare and ensure the accuracy of technical documents and contracts.
  • Create and implement a comprehensive QA/QC plan to be applied to all drawing sets and submissions.
  • Perform other ad hoc duties as assigned.

Why should you work here?

  • Competitive Pay + Bonus Opportunity. We are ready to invest in you!
  • Medical, Dental, Vision, and Life Insurance – Starting First Day of Employment – to access care for positive health outcomes and your overall wellbeing
  • Employee sponsored benefits including Short Term Disability, Life Insurance, Critical Illness, Accident, Flexible Spending, and H.S.A. Accounts to avoid costly medical expenses due to gaps and ensure that all your medical needs are met
  • 401(k) Retirement Plan with Match to invest in your future wealth and retirement
  • Paid Vacation, Sick Leave, and Holiday Pay to help you reset and come back rejuvenated and refreshed
  • Monthly company events to promote team cohesion
  • Wellness Days to focus on being your best self. We want you to have time to disconnect and recharge in a way that works for you
  • The opportunity to work for a growing organization where you are valued and can have a direct impact
  • Quarterly off-site meetings with your manager to celebrate wins, issue solve and ensure you are set up for success. Plus, the process is rewarding, and the results are great for your career

Applicant Requirements

Who you are – We’d love to hear from you if you possess the following:

  • Bachelor’s or Master’s in Urban Planning, Architecture, Civil Engineering, or a related field.
  • 5+ years of experience as an architecture project manager, with multifamily and commercial ground-up construction and renovation experience.
  • Active Architecture License in the State of Illinois is a plus.
  • Software: Strong knowledge of AutoCAD, Sketchup, Microsoft Office and Adobe Suite or similar, and can easily adapt to changing technology. Experience with Revit is preferred but not required.
  • Excellent project management skills with a track record of delivering projects on time and within budget.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the demonstrated ability to work with a diverse range of personalities and the ability to collaborate, communicate effectively, and multitask.
  • Leadership skills with ability to plan, prioritize, organize, and manage workload.
  • Ability to handle multiple projects at one time, each in different stages of production.
  • Understanding and interest in the technical aspects of building design and construction including thorough understanding construction and all aspects of building science.
  • Mastery of construction documentation, coordinating drawings and specifications with engineering disciplines.
  • High level of skill reading and interpreting construction plans
  • Highly effective written and verbal communication skills
  • Experience working with local governmental agencies and building/zoning code officials to ensure smooth projects progress through permitting.
  • Embody our core values: Be Kind, Be Flexible, Own It and Always Improve

Some additional things you will need:

  • Valid driver’s license and dependable vehicle.  Limited in-town usage of personal vehicle for errands, any out-of-County personal mileage reimbursed at the Federal rate.
  • Availability to work longer hours and weekends during peak times for your department.
  • Must be able to complete the physical functions of the position (include lifting requirements if any).


Physical Requirements:

  • Executes tasks independently, maintains concentration/focus on tasks
  • The ability to communicate information and ideas so others will understand. Must be able to exchange accurate information in these situations
  • The ability to observe details at close range (within a few feet of the observer)
  • Occasionally moving objects up to 15 pounds about the office
  • Ability to communicate orally with customers, vendors, management, and other co-workers.
  • Regular use of the telephone and e-mail for communication is essential.
  • Hearing, vision, and speaking within normal ranges is essential for normal conversations, to receive ordinary information and to prepare or inspect documents
  • Good reasoning ability is important. Able to understand and utilize management reports, memos, and other documents to conduct business
  • The job is performed indoors in a traditional office setting. Activities include extended periods of sitting while working at a computer and fast-paced operations and events

Fairlawn Real Estate is a fast-growing real estate firm managing approximately 5,000 units throughout Central Illinois and Indianapolis. Our company uses the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) to run and help grow our business – the tools from EOS contribute to finding the right people and putting them in the right roles, effectively solving issues as they arise and building a culture of accountability. In short it gets everyone on the same page and working toward the same goals. If you have an ownership mindset and take pride in all the details, joining our team may be perfect for you!

Date Posted:



About the Company

Fairlawn is a fast-growing real estate firm with over 130 team members and 5,000 units throughout Illinois and Indiana, and over 900 units under development/construction.

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