Louisville’s LDG Development co-founders Chris Dischinger and Mark Lechner strongly believe that everybody deserves a quality place to live. They started LDG with that philosophy and continue to use it to shape the organization today. Their goal is to create and provide high-quality workforce housing that residents are proud to call home
Dischinger is a Louisville native and graduate of the University of Louisville. Lechner moved here after graduating from Purdue University in 1982. The two started LDG in 1994, and now have satellite offices in Tennessee, Texas, and Georgia. LDG develops properties in Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.
CUB’s support has been instrumental since the beginning
“I’ve been dealing with Citizens Union Bank (CUB) since I began my real estate career in the late 1980s,” Lechner said. “When Chris and I started developing the tax credit business and affordable housing 25 years ago, they were instrumental. They understood it, and they have people who are good at it.”
“CUB has been able to work and understand our needs and provide lending products that make sense for both them and us,” Dischinger said.
Relationship is based on mutual respect and trust
“The reason we work so well with LDG is that Chris and Mark both say what they mean and mean what they say,” CUB Vice President Steve Hornback said. “They are very straightforward individuals, and if they tell you something, you can depend on it. If they tell you they are going to do something, it gets done. In my 16 years here at the bank, I’ve never had it not happen. That type of integrity goes a long way in building a relationship of trust over the years.”
Lechner and Dischinger both agree that CUB has been great to work with over the years and they really get to know their customers. “Steve goes above and beyond to ensure customer service,” Lechner says. “When I call him on his cell phone unless he’s in a meeting, he always answers. If we need documents signed, he’ll drive down to the office, or even drive to our houses.”
CUB shares the vision for workforce housing
Lechner said CUB really came to the rescue after the 2008 financial crisis. “We were working on a project in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, and representatives from CUB came all the way from Shelbyville, Ky., to help us with a $7-$8 million investment,” Lechner said. “When a lot of other national banks were pulling the reins back, CUB was still in the business of participating and believed in our vision.”
Hornback said CUB’s niche has been helping LDG Development on the front-end of the projects. “We really like what they do.”
Hornback believes a lot of people have a misconception about LDG’s vision. Some think the projects are low-income, when in fact, they provide workforce housing for people who are beginning work. The list of resident occupations can include teachers, social workers, and retail professionals. Individuals that are just getting started and can’t afford market-rate housing, but can afford discounted housing. Hornback said another misconception is that low-income housing is cheaply constructed.
Not so with LDG Development projects. “They’re top quality all the way through,” Hornback said. “Their projects carry the amenities of higher-end market-rate projects and look good 15, even 20 years from now. What they do elevates society. The quality of their projects has to make people feel better about where they live, and thus how they feel about themselves.”
Tammy Thomas, Sr. VP. Of Affordable Housing at CUB, who made the trip to New Orleans, Louisiana a couple of times, while working with Chris and Mark, said “LDG has taken their expertise and experience in providing quality, affordable housing, that started right here in the Louisville area and spread it across the country. They have grown exponentially over the last several years but never compromised the product they produce or the heart for those they serve. It has been a joy to work with them over their career and see them become successful.”