CHICAGO—John Allen, who helped build the company that would become Chicago-based apartment firm Amli Residential in 1980, died Sunday at his home in Chicago. He was 76. Reports indicate that he died from colon cancer.  

Amli Residential’s predecessor, which Allen started with its current CEO, Gregory Mutz, grew into two distinct fircompanies. Amli Commercial Properties Trust, which developed office parks in the Chicago area and in other markets before being sold in 2001, and Amli Residential Properties Trust, an apartment builder, says Crain’s Chicago Business’ Chicago Real Estate Daily.

The residential business went public nearly 20 years ago as a real estate investment trust, trading on the New York Stock Exchange until 2006, when a fund managed by New York-based Morgan Stanley took the business private. Amli Residential is currently developing rentals in the city’s River North and South Loop neighborhoods and in suburban Evanston.

A native of Mankato, MN, Allen grew up in South Dakota and later graduated from the law school at Indiana University. In Chicago, he began working for Mayer Brown LLP, where he focused on real estate investment work and partnership agreements, among other specialties. He made partner at the Chicago-based law firm before leaving to start Amli Realty Co., where he served as president for more than 20 years. He retired in 2005.

Allen is survived by his wife, Carolyn and four children: Tom, Tim, Tracy and Teri. He also is survived by his brother Jim and six grandchildren.

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