A new initiative is looking to tackle one of the region’s more pressing real estate issues—the need for more affordable housing—while accelerating the revitalization of underserved communities around Dallas.
Led by local developer and consulting firm Innovan Neighborhoods, the Community Developers Roundtable aims to serve as a collective learning, networking, and funding opportunity for both nonprofit and for-profit local developers.
“Across Dallas, there’s a need to build capacity for existing and rising community-oriented developers, specifically people of color, bringing innovative solutions to increase housing affordability and community-based amenities in historically distressed communities,” Maggie Parker, Innovan Neighborhoods founder and managing partner, told Dallas Innovates via email.
‘We can see neighborhoods and communities set up for success’
Targeting community-oriented developers of color, the roundtable will provide monthly networking for members to share financial resources, get updates on local policies affecting the industry, and align “opportunities for catalytic real estate development” across various parts of the city. Parker said it will also provide members with ongoing feedback and accountability.
To help with that goal, Innovan has raised funding from JPMorgan Chase, for which BCL of Texas will act as a fund manager and fiscal sponsor, for a projected $1 million pre-development fund, staff capacity stipends, and financial resources for technical assistance for roundtable members. Parker said she hopes the “flexible capital” will help to increase the pipeline of community revitalization projects in the region.
“When we put funds and resources behind innovative solutions, we can see neighborhoods and communities set up for long-term success,” Parker said.
Roundtable will include up to 15 members
Innovan began accepting applications for roundtable members at the beginning of the month, with a deadline for applications at the end of this week. Ultimately, the roundtable is looking to have 10 to 15 members focused on projects including affordable single-family and multifamily housing and commercial real estate in “underserved or distressed areas.”
“Empowering a diverse pool of developers will allow increased possibilities to address community concerns, including minimal attainable housing options, fear of displacement, and loss of community assets like community-led grocers and retailers,” Parker said.
Addressing a real estate market ‘in flux’
Parker said the current rental and for-sale markets are “in flux” because of inflation and new residents moving to the region, both of which are driving the need for more access to quality affordable housing and “neighborhood-based commercial spaces.” Through the two-year pilot of the roundtable, Parker said she hopes to strengthen the ecosystem’s long-term project pipeline, while acting as a collective voice for community-focused developers.
“Innovan is successful when there are more developers like myself—a woman and person of color from the community, with a heart to serve and starting real estate connections from scratch—have the patient capital, resources, and partnerships to move community-oriented development projects forward,” Parker said. “The roundtable is a formal manifestation of that vision as we hope to strengthen the community development ecosystem for generations to come, by both developing catalytic projects and supporting like-minded organizations.”
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