Carla Price – Always There for RPBG

As one of the Rogers Park Builders Group founding members, Carla has been a constant presence in our organization, contributing her boundless energy and enthusiasm at every opportunity. Her years of service and dedication to the organization were recognized by RPBG President, Mike Glasser, at the Director’s Meeting last year when she was presented with the “President’s Award” for 2021.

Carla exemplifies the best qualities of many of our RPBG members. Through her hard work, can-do attitude and relentless good spirits, she has created an amazing legacy of success in both her business and personal life.

Carla has a long history with Rogers Park where she was born and raised. She attended Sullivan High School and graduated from the University of Illinois where she earned an Education Degree and became a Phys Ed, Dance and Creative Movement teacher in the Wilmette Schools in the mid-60s. Carla has always been passionate about dance. During her early career, she would travel to a dance studio at 87th and Stony Island twice a week to practice Afro-Cuban and modern dance.

About a year after Carla and Allan Price were married in 1967, they moved into a vintage apartment in a brownstone building in the Armitage/Halsted area of Lincoln Park. Although the apartment was beautiful and inexpensive ($165/month), the neighborhood had seen better days. However, they recognized that the area was improving with a lot of young people renovating old buildings. They, too, were committed to helping the neighborhood continue to improve and bought a Victorian stone three-flat in 1971. When their landlord found out about it and responded with an increase in rent, they agreed that if their rent increased to $200, they would buy a building for a home of their own.

When a grungy row house down the street came on the market, they jumped at the opportunity. That event changed Carla’s life. She left teaching and became a self-taught designer and general contractor, transforming the row house into a lovely home. Carla’s move into real estate was especially unusual for a woman at the time, when remodeling was even more dominated by men than it is today. Most of the tradesmen routinely asked to talk to Allan, not wanting to believe that a woman could be in charge. This only made her more determined to succeed.

After completing their house, Carla and Allan made a key decision to buy additional small apartment buildings in the area. Carla quickly became a master of many skills: investor, contractor, maintenance/property manager and, like most property owners, part-time social worker. True to her character, Carla threw herself into the work, serving as President of the RANCH Triangle Association, part of the Lincoln Park Conservation Association. (RANCH is an acronym for Racine, Armitage, North, Clybourn and Halsted.) Carla was determined to do everything she could to ensure that the neighborhood improved as she was improving her own properties. And all this was done while raising her young son!

In 1978, Carla and Allan moved to a home in Evanston just after their son’s third birthday. There would be another son two years later. Carla and Allan have resided there ever since. With this move, Carla’s center of gravity began to shift from Lincoln Park to Rogers Park and Evanston.

In 1984, Carla sold their first Lincoln Park property and made their first acquisition in Rogers Park – a 19-unit apartment building. Being a property owner in Rogers Park must have felt familiar to Carla who had learned a lot from her experience over the previous two decades in Lincoln Park.

Carla knew that, to improve a neighborhood, you have to invest in it and also promote it to the wider world. This need was recognized by Carol Goldman, head of the Rogers Park Community Council. Carol was a big influence on Paul Goguen who took her ideas and formed the Rogers Park Builders Group along with Jim Klutznick, Jay Johnson and Carla. They all knew that Rogers Park was a hidden gem. But, to many others, the neighborhood was just plain hidden.

Like Lincoln Park twenty years earlier, Rogers Park in the mid-80s had lots of advantages to build on, but plenty of challenges after years of disinvestment and deterioration. Carla’s first contribution to the newly formed RPBG was to chair an Advertising Committee which worked with a consultant to design a colorful brochure, touting the neighborhood’s lakefront location, parks, beaches, excellent and varied housing stock and outstanding transportation. She also led the Arts Committee to support the growth of the new restaurants and live theaters that were opening in Rogers Park by planning dinner and theater events.

In recent years, Carla has been the Outreach and Public Relations Director and has overseen RPBG’s charitable donations to worthy neighborhood non-profits. Carla has supported many groups over the years with charitable donations, but is proud of the care she takes in vetting and approving applicants before any funds are dispersed.

Beyond her role as RPBG Director, Carla is known for her gregarious and compassionate personality. She is a person of wide-ranging interests with an undeniable zest for life. She describes herself as a “night person” who loves nothing more than an evening of music – at the symphony, a jazz club or a cabaret. (Carla played violin in the Sullivan High School orchestra in her student days.) In addition to music, her interests include entertaining, art, design and, vintage cars – something she shares with her husband, sons and five grandkids.

Over her real estate career, Carla has owned 25 buildings of various sizes but has always preferred vintage properties over newer construction. It is not by accident that her company is called PMG Vintage Apartments. She has proudly bucked the modern kitchen and open floorplan trend, opting instead to preserve the original design and appeal of the pre-War properties she so loves.

Carla’s boundless energy has been a huge benefit to RPBG and we are very fortunate to have her. She represents much of what is best about our organization, with her unshakable commitment to her community, her tenants and her family.

Carla’s first contribution to the newly formed RPBG was to chair an Advertising Committee which worked with a consultant to design a colorful brochure, touting the neighborhood’s lakefront location, parks, beaches, excellent and varied housing stock and outstanding transportation.