“Gentrifier, interloper, developer: A new breed of builders is attempting to reclaim the “D” word and make development a little kinder and friendlier,” writes Stefanos Chen for The New York Times.
Gentrification has given developers a bad reputation. But when it comes to solving the housing crisis, it probably cannot be done without private development.
Today, there is a new breed of developers who are rethinking their role in the gentrification cycle and how their projects might bring more favorable outcomes for the local residents and their neighborhoods.
One such example is Mosaic Development Partners, founded by Leslie Smallwood-Lewis and Gregory Reaves, and based in Philadelphia – a city which currently has one of the highest poverty rates in the country. Their general approach, which they call “gentrigation,” is mixed-income development that encourages racial and economic integration.
Mosaic has already had some success with projects such as the Eastern Lofts, where they used used federal tax credits to convert the building into apartments, offices, retail and a day-care center, all with rents about 30 percent lower than those in new buildings nearby. The less expensive units allowed them to consider potential tenants with lower credit scores. And the project still made a profit.
In the works is another mixed-use project, Golaski Labs, which is repurposing an abandoned medical warehouse in Germantown, in northwest Philadelphia. This time Mosaic successfully raised funds for the cost of construction through Small Change. Modular construction will reduce costs by an expected 20 percent. And once again, Mosaic will be offering reduced rents for both their residential and commercial units.
Hopefully these successes will inspire more impact developers – developers who embrace new business models and who are socially conscious and civic-minded.
Read the full article here.
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