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September 2019

Durham ready for Black Wall Street resurgence, investor says. Is Cincinnati the model?

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Thursday September 26, 2019

Durham ready for Black Wall Street resurgence, investor says. Is Cincinnati the model?

Al. Neyer president and CEO Molly North recently joined Carl Satterwhite, founder of Real Estate Enterprises for African American leaders (REEAAL), at Downtown Durham’s Speaker Series event to share how we partnered to renovate Vernon Manor, a $38 million adaptive reuse project that was 51% minority-owned. Joe Johnson with the Herald Sun discusses how the Cincinnati project can potentially serve as a model in Durham, a community that is very similar to Cincinnati, for inclusive commercial real estate growth.

From the article:

An Ohio commercial real estate investor says Durham’s Black Wall Street is ready for a comeback.

Carl Satterwhite, who built his firm through connections in Cincinnati’s African-American business community, says the ingredients exist in Durham for local minority investors to succeed.

“We took our disparate power and put it into focus,” he said. “We went in one direction, and that’s the only way we make change. That happened with Black Wall Street. That’s what they can have, again.”

Satterwhite’s signature project with development partner Al. Neyer was turning a dilapidated Jazz Age hotel into a headquarters for about 700 Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center employees. And they did it with the help of about a dozen African-American investors, he said.

The 10-story Vernon Manor hotel renovation was a $37 million project completed in 2011 and included another office building. They were sold in 2018 for $75 million, he said.

Read more from the article by Joe Johnson in the Herald Sun here.

About the project

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center committed to a 2010 expansion in Avondale that was a visible community anchor for the world-class pediatric healthcare delivery and research organization. Cincinnati Children’s now occupies the 171,000 SF historic 1920’s hotel that Al. Neyer renovated for its adaptive reuse into modern office space. Al. Neyer purchased the Vernon Manor property and several key sites adjoining it, resulting in a $37 million transformation including construction of a separate structured parking facility.

Minority inclusion and community outreach were a critical priority in this project. A majority interest of the Vernon Manor redevelopment is owned by Real Estate Enterprises for African-American Leaders, LLC (REEAAL), committed to the imperative of meaningful investment in commercial real estate opportunities. The Offices at Vernon Manor are 51 percent owned by Real Estate Enterprises for African American Leaders LLC (REEAAL). The Vernon Manor deal represented the group’s first foray into real estate investment.

Creating an opportunity for significant minority investment in an investment-grade property was Al. Neyer’s intention from the project’s beginning. It provides a level of economic inclusion that aligns with the core values of CCHMC, the community and each team member. With no precedent, the development team set about creating the process by which to identify and engage African American investors into the ownership group.

We invite you to read more about the project in this case study published in NAIOP Development Magazine.


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