On Saturday, July 29, the Los Angeles Chapter of the African American Real Estate Professionals AAREP LA held a behind-the-scenes look at monumental projects and acquisitions across South Los Angeles led by Black developers who have taken a
conscientious, community-first approach to real estate and economic development over the past year.
The seven featured sites, valued at approximately $1 billion, represent a wide-ranging
collection of mixed income and mixed-use, affordable housing, retail, office as well as a planned creative campus for studio and sound stage production. Tour participants heard from industry veterans Rochelle Mills, Innovative Housing Opportunities; Stanley Washington and Sherri Franklin , Stocker Street Creative; Malcolm Johnson and Bryce Grandison, Langdon Park Capital; Jennifer McElyea, ETHOS Real Estate;; and Saul McDonald, CCIM, Avanath Capital Management.
The event was sponsored by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) as part of their mission to
shape the future of the built environment for transformative impact in communities worldwide. Michael Tidwell of Cushman & Wakefield served as event moderator. According to Tidwell, “This tour, in a nutshell, showcased the power of community-focused development backed by a formidable network.”
McElyea of ETHOS Real Estate showcased their Crenshaw Crossing project noting, “We’re trying to meet the spectrum of tenant profiles because some people make too much to qualify for affordable housing, but they can’t afford market. We’re trying to hit every segment of the community.” Crenshaw Crossing will have 401 rental apartment units and 40,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor including a grocery. Ethos also shared more on their Residences at Woodlake in Baldwin Village.
Baldwin Village Apartments is an Avanath Capital Management, LLC property. Recognized as the nation’s largest Black-owned affordable housing investor, Avanath made a record $220 million investment to help stabilize housing the community by purchasing the 669-unit Baldwin Village Apartments.
Johnson and Grandison of Langdon Park Capital shared more on Langdon Park at Baldwin Village. These two workforce housing communities in South Los Angeles are part of their mission to create lasting social impact in historically Black and Latino communities.
The goal of Stocker Street Creative is to build a transformative state-of-the-art creative campus for studio and sound stage production, creative industry office spaces, business
and technology incubation and industry specific job development within a collaborative
ecosystem designed to drive economic development within the South and Southeast Los Angeles communities while leveraging the greater Los Angeles County creative industry. The tour also included Urban Design Center’s Shedrick Creative Arts Community.
Another property profiled on the tour, 87th & Western is a mixed-use, mixed- income
community revitalization development that will include a diverse mix of residents as well as affordable pedestrian-oriented commercial and retail spaces. Located within walking distance of Gramercy Park, grocery stores, a Kaiser medical facility and transit, the project’s design honors the single-family homes along 87th and 88th streets.
The day concluded with the organization’s Annual Networking Brunch sponsored by OneUnited Bank , the nation’s largest Black-owned bank.
At the brunch, AAREP saluted prominent real estate attorney George Clayton Fatheree, III with a special recognition presented by AAREP LA officer Troy S. Jenkins. Fatheree has a distinguished profile and reputation in California – and nationwide – built on his commercial real estate practice, counseling of artists and museums in arts and culture transactions, civil rights-focused pro bono work and extensive civic and community service. Fatheree is engaged in impact-focused pro bono matters such as representing the descendants of Willa and Charles Bruce in the landmark return of the Bruce’s Beach property – a groundbreaking transaction involving the return of property that was wrongly taken from an African American family almost 100 hundred years ago. Fatheree also represented Debbie Allen Dance Academy in its acquisition, financing and development of a state-of-the-art performing arts academy in the West Adams district of Los Angeles, and assisted Black Lives Matter Los Angeles in its acquisition of a headquarters building. These projects have been recognized as important civic and cultural additions to the city.
AAREP’s brunch also featured keynote speaker, Areva Martin , an award-winning civil rights attorney, talk show host, legal commentator and entrepreneur. A Harvard Law School graduate, Areva founded the Los Angeles-based civil rights firm, Martin & Martin LLP. She is the lead attorney representing thousands of African American and Latino survivors and descendants of Section 14 who suffered an estimated $2 billion dollars in damages when the City of Palm Springs burned and razed their homes in the 1950s and ’60s. A best-selling author of four books, she is the founder of Special Needs Network, Inc., one of the state’s leading autism and social justice nonprofits. One hundered percent of the proceeds from ticket sales of the bus tour went to the benefit of the Special Needs Network.
The event was summed up by AAREP LA President and industry luminary, Kimberly Brown of IMPACT Realty Advisors, “South LA is a community rich with history and pride. As a native of the community, I’ve personally seen a long history of disinvestment and now a surge in outside investment with precarious outcomes like gentrification with displacement. Our organization is a robust ecosystem of interdisciplinary commercial real estate professionals. We were proud to showcase our developers and investors who continue to play a significant role in the transformation of our community through a lens from within. We are part of the solution.”