Black-led capital fund targets Philly real estate developers – WHY
Anthony Fullard, President of West Powelton Development Corporation, has dedicated his life to all things construction. He owned his own business for 10 years and before that he worked 30 years in industry, starting as a union worker.
“I started at the bottom of the construction industry and then I started learning the industry,” said the Germantown native. “It’s about tracking the money and the margins for success are at the ownership level of the project.”
Fullard was the developer of the Osage and Pine redevelopment project. This is the site of the MOVE bombing which destroyed 61 houses. The city eventually rebuilt many of them but they were poorly constructed.
Despite his decades of work in the industry, he recognizes that he could still use some resources. Now he is one of the Philadelphia entrepreneurs in Collective, a black-led capital network group that was launched publicly last week. With a vision to “provide access to the resources and capital that will uplift Philadelphia’s communities of color and generate wealth for neighborhoods affected by systemic racism,” the Collective felt like the answer to a problem that no organization or institution could not solve for him his peers.
“It’s important for us to come together and pool our resources,” Fullard said.
While the promoters of the Newborn Collective represent all segments of the real estate industry, Fullard emphasizes residential homes, generally single-family. It is deliberately avoiding housing that would be intended for more temporary residents, such as student housing. He said his focus was always on black families.
“This is the biggest investment they will probably ever make in their life,” he said. “This family will stay in this community for at least 20 years and will be involved with this investment. It’s vital for me. “
To own is power
Sandra Dungee Glenn, founder of The Collective and originally from West Philadelphia, said she was doing this simply because “someone has to do it.” She is one of the three main founders, including Tayyib Smith of S&R Holdings and Steven Sanders from Beltraith Capital.
Like Fuller, his goal is ultimately to strengthen the land ownership of black families in Philadelphia.
“We are looking to make home ownership for Black families and residents much more important than it currently is,” Glenn said.
Black homeownership in Philadelphia has fallen over the past 20 years, 47% from 55% in 2000, according to the Housing Policy Center at the Urban Institute. During the same period, property values in many areas of Philadelphia have increased. In historically black neighborhoods, such as Mantua and Cedar Park in West Philadelphia and the Point Breeze and Graduate Hospital section of South Philadelphia, the increase in value has been significant.
This concerns Glenn, who wants the homeownership rate to be about two-thirds. In Glenn’s eyes, it all comes down to wealth creation.
“I strongly believe in the power of ownership,” she said. “When you are the owner, you are in control. Increase ownership of businesses, land, [and] houses are very important to me.
Caretha Jones is a black Philadelphian who sees the value of the Collective’s mission. It was a lifelong goal for her to own a home and she was finally able to take that step last year after more than a decade of living in a two-bedroom apartment in public housing.
In many ways, Jones’ story reflects what The Collective stands for.
“I am the first of my grandmother’s grandchildren to have a home and this is definitely independence,” she said.
She describes a feeling of pride in having something completely on her own.
For Glenn, The Collective aims to create this economic independence based on support networks in communities that ceded and stripped of wealth creation opportunities.
“I don’t have an uncle, cousin, or business relationship with that kind of capital,” Glenn said. “And that’s the problem with many black developers disproportionately because they don’t have those personal networks.”