About DIR Development

Tony Ruh - D.I.R. Development

Tony Ruh, Principal

For over thirty years Tony Ruh has specialized in transforming distressed commercial and residential properties. His hands-on approach to redevelopment has transformed numerous projects around Chicagoland from blighted, troubled assets to neighborhood gems. His modus operandi developed naturally, utilizing technical, construction-based solutions to transform distressed properties with upside potential. He has made a career out of his ability to think outside-the-box, and engineer creative methods to transform good real estate opportunities into gold.

The son of Betty, a top-selling Chicago realtor, and Matt, a sought-after building engineer for Chicago’s grandest skyscrapers, Tony learned from a young age the two skills that have served him so well to get where he is today. After high school he stayed in the heating & air conditioning business for years, honing his mechanical knowledge. So, when a commercial client inquired about purchasing large air conditioners, Tony went to work.  He learned that Caterpillar’s global headquarters in Peoria was auctioning off unused equipment. Tony quickly realized the opportunity. He purchased 29 industrial units at $1,700 each. Over the next 18 months he proceeded to contact corporate giants and sold the units to the likes of Boeing and GM. As a result, he earned his first $1.5M.


Inspired Beginnings

An early real estate development demonstrates the ingenuity that has become his hallmark. He wanted to build a mid-sized lakeshore condo development on the north side of Chicago. The only way to acquire a parcel suitable on the shore of Lake Michigan would have been to demolish an existing building. But, Tony saw that there were two side-by-side gas stations on an elegant curve on Sheridan Road that, together, were almost large enough. He would need to acquire them both, then purchase the adjacent apartment building. Secondly, he would need to convince the City of Chicago to sell him the alley in between and remediate the one million cubic feet of soil under the gas stations sufficiently for residential use. Finally, if all the pieces fell into place, the parcel would be perfect for a gorgeous lakefront condominium building.

Who would undertake such a monumental project? Tony worked out all of the details in his unique way. He invested $1M to acquire and remediate the parcels. In addition, he entered into a joint venture with a builder who spent $30M to construct 57 high-end units. Tony’s $3M profit from “Lakeview Pointe” got him started on his path. Over the next 25 years, a pattern emerges where profits are made through the application of creative, technical solutions to transform good opportunities into gold.

Ruh has survived and thrived during tough economic times for real estate developers. Over the past ten years he has developed and sold assets . He has also held and self-managed several medical office buildings. Tony has developed relationships with large medical groups who are always looking to grow.  Additionally, he has maintained a reputation with aldermen, mayors and village managers. These relationships are crucial to continued success.

Matt Ruh

Matt Ruh,  Executive Vice President

Matt Ruh joined DIR Development in 2019. As Executive Vice President, Matt leads DIR’s mission of providing best in class tenant experiences by leading business planning, construction management, and property management activities for the firm. As the liaison between tenants and ownership Matt and his team of property managers, architects, construction managers, maintenance personal and vendors work together to provide the complete tenant experience. Matt earned his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from University of Dayton.

If you are interested in learning more about one of our properties or DIR Development, please contact us.