This project was developed by more than 20 neighbors who put their own homes up for collateral in order to secure a construction loan for this $1 million development. Members of the neighborhood group included an attorney, accountant, teacher, city planner, history professor, real estate broker, and several members of the building trades.
While none of the investors had development experience, the architects led the group through the participatory actions of land acquisition and financing, political organizing, selection of professional engineers and contractors, and ultimately constructing the project as components in the larger process of community building.
This model of community empowerment, from making very difficult decisions regarding profit vs. density to working within a political system, generates a sense of pride and accomplishment as they witness the emergence of a cultural enterprise they helped shape with their own hands and ideas.
Unlike gentrification where return on investment leaves the neighborhood, the profits from this project all stayed within a few blocks.