Building Black wealth through community-owned shopping centers.
- Strategic. Purchase profitable urban community shopping centers in partnership with Black entrepreneurs and community investors
- Building Black wealth. Providing a path for increased ownership opportunities of real estate assets.
- Supporting Black talent. Providing opportunities to Black-owned businesses and opportunities for local community employment
- Scalable. Planning to provide investment opportunities in 10-100 service oriented community shopping centers
- Black-owned. Project led and owned by a Black team
- Return. 49% of cash flow and profit to investors
The Chicago TREND Corporation has negotiated a contract to acquire the 316,474 square foot Edmondson Village Shopping Center in Baltimore, MD for $17,050,000. TREND is launching a crowdfunding campaign to allow Black entrepreneurs, community residents and other interested socially-minded impact investors – with as little as $1,000 – to co-own the Shopping Center.
Chicago TREND (“TREND”, the“Manager” or the”Sponsor”) will seek to engage Black contractors, professional service providers, lease to Black-owned businesses and create opportunities for local community employment at the Shopping Center (the “Shopping Center” or “Property”). TREND is purchasing the Shopping Center at a favorable price and has secured substantial commitment for public subsidy. TREND will endeavor to make the Shopping Center an asset that will strengthen the community. TREND will own and operate the Shopping Center with pride and integrity, becoming a “trusted neighbor” in the community.
The Shopping Center is located at 4532 Edmondson Ave, Baltimore, MD 21229. While the Shopping Center has healthcare services, banking, retail outlets and restaurants tenants, the property is in need of renovation and modernization.
The Shopping Center sits in the Rognel Heights neighborhood and serves the greater Edmondson Village Community area which includes Edmondson Village, Uplands and Rognel Heights. Built in 1947, the Shopping Center was one of Baltimore’s first large-scale style shopping attractions, complete with quality stores, a movie theater and a bowling alley. Over the years, the Shopping Center has suffered a decline. Unsurprisingly, activity at the Shopping Center has rooted vigorous community discussion around sanitation, tenant profile, lighting, crime and overall appearance, among other things. The Shopping Center has suffered fire damage and criminal activity (including recent gun violence – that resulted in the murder of a 16 year-old young man).
Yet the Shopping Center remains in many ways the linchpin to the rebirth of the community’s economic life and holds the promise of once again serving as a major Southwest Baltimore attraction. Revival is both overdue and feasible.
TREND has determined that outmoded restrictive covenants have contributed to the level of disinvestment at the Shopping Center. The covenants are so outdated and repugnant that they still ostensibly bar even the residence of “Negroes” in the overall community. Further, these covenants impose development restrictions, arguably part of the same discriminatory agenda, that have stymied meaningful efforts to make improvements to the Shopping Center (other than cosmetic “touch-ups”). No residential uses other than single-family homes are permitted. Typical stand-alone outparcel uses such as sit-down dining, retail banking, or similar desirable neighborhood commercial services are blocked. “Williamsburg Colonial” architecture is mandated, with no opportunity for modernization compatible with quality shopping centers in today’s Baltimore. TREND is working to amend the covenant restrictions so that the Shopping Center can be redeveloped and remade. TREND has garnered political support and continues to methodically obtain the necessary 59 parcel owner signatures. TREND expects to obtain the necessary approvals to make the Shopping Center an asset for the community, once again.
Indeed, the City of Baltimore has demonstrated support and encouraged the existing owner to sell the Shopping Center to TREND. The City of Baltimore has also approved a $7,500,000 grant to TREND that will be used for site development work and capital improvements at the Shopping Center. TREND has also already secured a small grant from the State of Maryland to implement certain safety and security programming and is working now to obtain additional grant funding from the State and/or Federal sources that it intends to use to construct new buildings and incentivize new tenants to sign leases at the Shopping Center.
TREND seeks to improve the leasing at the Shopping Center to better serve the neighborhood by:
- Attracting a grocery store (LOI before closing) and other tenants.
- Ground leasing of 3 or 4 outparcel/pad sites (for restaurant and other services).
- Developing the 6-acre vacant site (senior housing).
- Locating government, non-profit or business services in approximately 40,000SF of vacant office space to be renovated.
We plan to purchase the property on or before April 30, 2023 and commence repairs and rehabilitation of the shopping center. In the fall of 2023, we expect to begin the preparation of the outparcel pad sites and construction of the grocery store. We expect this construction work to be completed and the store to be occupied within 24 months of construction start.
There is also an opportunity to earn additional revenue by rehabilitation and lease-up of the presently vacant second-floor commercial space at the shopping center. This would occur over the course of 36-60 months following close, however, that vacant space does not impact current financial projections. Neither does potential development of senior housing in the rear of the shopping center, which we project to occur over the next 48-60 months, likely in partnership with a senior housing development specialist.
Since 2020, TREND has been making the case that Black residents do not own commercial property in their neighborhoods. Consequently, Black communities have no voice and receive no financial benefit from the profitability and appreciation of shopping centers that they frequent as customers.
Moreover, Black residents have few connections to visible and accessible Black shopping center owners and commercial real estate professionals. The fact that just three percent of Black households own commercial real estate was the subject of a recent Brookings Institution study - The devaluation of assets in Black neighborhoods: The case of commercial property.
TREND is creating deal structures to enable 1000+ Black, local and socially-minded impact investors to have an ownership stake in the revitalization of shopping centers located in majority Black neighborhoods and driving inclusive economic impact. The TREND thesis is that more people will patronize, protect and respect neighborhood shopping centers when they are investors in commercial real estate.
Black entrepreneurs will have more opportunity to operate businesses as tenants and be service providers (leasing, property management and vendors) at the Shopping Center. TREND believes it can create over 600 construction jobs and 280 permanent jobs at shopping centers in majority Black communities.
About Chicago TREND
TREND was established as a centralized resource for diverse real estate developers, retailers and community development organizations seeking to understand the trajectories of urban neighborhoods and invest in profitable retail and other commercial development that strengthens them. TREND catalyzes, accelerates and finances strategic commercial development led by people of color, identifying and facilitating development that moves overlooked and undervalued neighborhoods forward and drives inclusive growth.
Since its launch, TREND has used sophisticated predictive market analytics, development facilitation services and financing tools to:
- Identify untapped opportunities to strengthen majority Black neighborhoods through strategic commercial investments
- Shorten the timeframe for commercial development
- Provide technical assistance to business owners and Black developers
- Obtain grant and other flexible, patient capital to entrepreneurs of color
These tools create a mutually reinforcing cycle of improved retail and service amenities, enhanced community vitality and wealth creation for people of color.
In early 2020, TREND – like countless other organizations – was compelled to reexamine and pivot its business plan to address unprecedented market conditions. The COVID-19 health crisis, recession and civil unrest (following the murder of George Floyd) combined to amplify the need for targeted economic empowerment initiatives in Black communities. As a result, TREND established three new lines of business, aligned with its mission to strengthen disinvested communities and support entrepreneurs of color:
Small business advisory services – coaching Black-owned businesses to ensure their survival and build their capacity to thrive in the “new normal,” and advocating for impact capital to support their strategic business initiatives.
Development advisory services – coaching, technical advice, expert referrals/networking and related services to advance high-impact real estate development projects in targeted minority neighborhoods.
Shopping center acquisition in partnership with Black entrepreneurs and community members – described in more detail below.
The property damage and looting of stores made it palpable to TREND that Black residents do not own commercial property in their neighborhoods. Consequently, Black communities receive no financial benefit from the profitability and appreciation of shopping centers that they frequent as customers. Moreover, Black residents have few connections to visible and accessible Black shopping center owners and commercial real estate professionals.
TREND therefore seeks to intentionally empower Black entrepreneurs and community residents to have a meaningful ownership stake in the revitalization and continued vibrancy of commercial corridors and Black shopping districts. TREND has developed and begun executing a strategy to buy profitable urban community shopping centers in partnership with Black entrepreneurs and community-focused impact investors. TREND’s market intelligence, capital, expertise and industry relationships allow it to identify, acquire and improve under-valued small shopping plazas in majority-Black neighborhoods.
Through this shopping center acquisition strategy, TREND has been purposeful about driving inclusive economic impact:
Black generational wealth will be created through ownership of real estate assets with appreciation potential
Black entrepreneurs and investors will receive the benefits of positive cash flow projected to be generated by the real estate asset
Black entrepreneurs will have more opportunity to operate businesses as tenants in shopping centers
TREND’s mission to strengthen communities through strategic commercial real estate development and support entrepreneurs of color is now more important and urgent than ever. To achieve goals related to inclusive economic development and growth and address the racial wealth gap in a meaningful way, it is essential that more commercial real estate and business assets located in Black communities be owned by (and build wealth for) Black entrepreneurs and community residents.
TREND has assembled a team of Black experts (leasing, management, architecture, insurance – even the landscaping company) to provide hands-on property management, stay on top of issues, retain existing tenants and attract new ones to improve financial performance and community impact. TREND’s culturally informed and industry-experienced ownership perspective has demonstrated that it is able to work with economic development officials and community stakeholders to retain and attract tenants to the shopping centers it acquires. A strong property management and leasing strategy, including marketing, attractive co-tenancies, etc. allows TREND to have positive impacts in communities, including employment of Black people and cultivation and incubation of Black-owned businesses in its shopping centers.
Executing the strategy.
In January of 2020, TREND acquired Butterfield Plaza, a 19,468 square foot shopping center located in Olympia Fields, IL. The Village of Olympia Fields is a suburb of Chicago where 74% of the residents are Black. Even during the worst days of global pandemic, the pilot center performed well. At the time of purchase, the Plaza was bank-owned property with only 60% occupied. As of December 2022, Butterfield Plaza was 93% leased.
TREND then analyzed 10 shopping centers on the south side of Chicago and began to carefully select centers to acquire based on the following criteria:
- More than 100,000 residents within a three-mile radius
- Black population exceeds 50%
- At risk of decline or poised for positive change
- “Cusp” location with access to both low- and high-income populations a plus
- Visibility through signage, adequate street frontage and property configuration
- Access via auto, transit and walking
- Parking adequate for mix of uses
- Adjacent retail
Strong Tenant Mix
- Service- and convenience-oriented (“non Amazonable”)
- Diverse mix
- Average remaining lease term of three years or more
Strong Financial Deal
- Purchase at an attractive cap rate based on in place Net Operating Income
- Identified grant dollars or public subsidy for renovations and improvements
- Cash flow (after debt service) is available
- Below-market rents
- Potential for value appreciation as part of the TREND portfolio
In October of 2020, TREND bought its second shopping center, 8301 S. Holland Road in Chicago’s Chatham Community (“8301”). 8301 is a 9,755 square foot shopping center with four storefronts and 36 parking spaces. Chatham has a strong history of local minority business ownership and is the birthplace of notable African American-owned firms in various sectors. Over 280,000 people live within a three-mile radius. TREND provided technical and financial assistance empowering a Black entrepreneur to open a UPS Store Franchise at 8301. 8301 is now 100% occupied with tenants that include Athletico, Boost Mobile, and a local dentist. TREND intentionally structured the purchase transaction so that, Black entrepreneurs and community residents now own 49% of 8301.
Inclusive Ownership Strategy and Action in Baltimore
TREND purchased the Walbrook Junction Shopping Center (WJSC), a 47,000-square foot shopping center in southwest Baltimore in April 2021, with financing from Neighborhood Impact Investment Fund (NIIF) and The Reinvestment Fund (RF). Significantly, more than 130 small, Black, local and other small socially-minded impact investors now own 49% of WJSC, while TREND owns 51%.
WJSC is dual-anchored by a Save-a-Lot grocery store and a Rite Aid pharmacy. Substantial renovation is underway at WJSC as well as active lease negotiations with desired community serving tenants. The City of Baltimore recently approved $1.5 million in grant funding that will allow TREND to make roof repairs, upgrade systems, improve the appearance and provide tenant build-out allowances. In addition, the State of Maryland has awarded over $300,000 in grants allowing TREND to install new cameras, lighting and other safety improvements and implement crime and violence prevention programs as WJSC. Finally, TREND has funding to redo a community mural adjacent to WJSC and engage local community organizations and commercial property owners in the process.
Lyneir Richardson is co-founder and CEO of The Chicago TREND Corporation. He is an experienced commercial and residential real estate developer with over 17 years of experience in urban retail development.
Lyneir is also a Professional Practice Instructor in the Department of Management and Global Business at Rutgers Business School in Newark, New Jersey, and the Executive Director of the Rutgers Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CUEED), where he leads capacity-building programs that have assisted over 400 entrepreneurs. Lyneir was recently appointed as a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Lyneir has served as Chief Executive Officer of the primary economic development corporation in Newark, for two different mayoral administrations. He was Vice President of Urban Development at General Growth Properties, Inc., where he led the national initiative to bring quality shopping centers to ethnic neighborhoods in large U.S. cities. Early in his career, Lyneir founded Lakeshore Development Construction Company and was recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as Illinois Young Entrepreneur of the Year. He started his career as a corporate attorney at the First National Bank of Chicago.
Lyneir is a graduate of Bradley University and the University of Chicago Law School. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute, the International Council of Shopping Centers, and the International Economic Development Council. He serves on the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council, New Growth Innovation Network, Newark Arts Council and the Cook County Land Bank, and has served as Vice Chairman of the Illinois Housing Development Authority Trust Fund Board and as a Commissioner on the Chicago Plan Commission.
The executive team.
In addition to Lyneir Richardson, Chicago TREND’s executive team includes Michael (Mike) Scilingo, Chief Financial Officer, Justin Terry, Vice President, William (Will) McIntosh III, Director, Michelle Merrit, Consultant, David Shryock, Benefit Director and Robert Weissbourd, Co-founder and secretary of the board.
Mike Scilingo has over 30 years of experience in accounting and finance roles, including 15 years with a commercial real estate development and property management company. Prior to joining the TREND team, Mike was the CFO of a law firm and also worked in private equity and investment management organizations. Mike began his career with Citibank. He has extensive experience in multiple-entity financial reporting, analysis and forecasting, as well as complex debt and equity deal structures. Mike graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago and earned a MBA from DePaul University.
Justin Terry has over 15 years of experience as a legal, real estate development and governmental affairs professional. Justin began his career practicing law at two different mid-sized defense firms before joining a commercial real estate development startup as Vice President and General Counsel. Justin’s passion has been the intersection of the law, real estate and technology to improve urban communities. Justin graduated from Northwestern University and earned a JD from the Notre Dame Law School.
Will McIntosh worked as a corporate banker with PNC Financial Services Inc. for seven years. Will graduated from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University in Tallahassee, FL and earned his MBA from the institution as well.
Michelle Merritt has over 20 years of experience in community and economic development spanning the for-profit, non-profit, entrepreneurial and arts and culture sectors. She has led robust public outreach and community engagement programs for both for-profit entities and non-profit organizations. Previously, Michelle was Vice President of Community Relations at Related Midwest where she managed community and local partnerships for two of the largest HOPE VI revitalization programs as part of the Chicago Housing Authority’s historic Plan for Transformation. Michelle earned a Bachelor of Arts from Hampton University and a Master of Arts Management from Columbia College, Chicago.
Dave Shryock has over 30 years of experience in financing small and minority-owned businesses. Following business school, he spent eleven years at South Shore Bank in Chicago, initially as a commercial lender and eventually as President and CEO of the Bank. Dave is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale School of Management.
Robert Weissbourd owns and manages RW Ventures, LLC, an economic development firm specializing in technical analysis of urban assets and markets, and in creating the products and enterprises necessary to successfully grow urban and regional economies. He was a lead developer of the Southland Development Authority, New Growth Innovation Network (NGIN), the Greater Chatham Initiative, TREND, Chicagoland Food and Beverage Network, the Center for Financial Services Innovation, MetroEdge and the Metropolitan Business Planning Initiative, which he co-managed with the Brookings Institution. He brings over 30 years of experience leading economic development work in dozens of cities and scores of neighborhoods, including serving on the Obama Transition HUD Agency Review Team, as a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Center and as adjunct professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy
The property teams
TREND has a track record of assembling teams of Black experts (leasing, management, insurance – even the landscaping company) to provide hands-on property management, stay on top of issues, retain existing tenants and attract new ones to improve financial performance and community impact. Some of the diverse professionals include:
- Emerald Partners Property Management
- FP Commercial Advisors (leasing)
- Property Care Management (landscaping/snow removal)
- P2 Capital Insurance Brokers, Inc.
- Beehive Architects
- MDC INC Remodeling & Roofing
- RE/MAX Commercial Logic (Ieasing and property management)
- Sutton Campbell Britt & Associates, P.C. (architecture)
TREND will continue to identify diverse professionals and contractors as it acquires shopping centers across the country.
The Company is engaged in a Regulation Crowdfunding (Reg CF) offering. We plan to use the proceeds of this offering, together with a loan from a bank, to purchase and operate the Edmondson Village Shopping Center at 4532 Edmondson Ave, Baltimore, MD.
We are trying to raise a maximum of $980,000, but we will move forward with the Shopping Center project and use investor funds if we are able to raise at least $100,000 (the “Target Amount”). If we have not raised at least the Target Amount by 11:59 pm on April 30, 2023 EST (the “Target Date”), we will terminate the Offering and return 100% of their money to anyone who has subscribed.
The minimum you can invest in the Offering is $1,000. Investments above $1,000 may be made in $500 increments (e.g., $1,500 or $2,000, but not $1,136). An investor may cancel his or her commitment up until 11:59 pm on April 28 2023, EST (i.e., two days before the Target Date). If we have raised at least the Target Amount we might decide to accept the funds and admit investors to the Company before the Target Date; in that case we will notify you and give you the right to cancel.
After we accept the funds and admit investors to the Company, whether on the Target Date or before, we will continue the Offering until we have raised the maximum amount.
You can review the offering documents here or as registered on the SEC website Investments under Reg CF are offered by NSSC Funding Portal, LLC, a licensed funding portal.
TREND is structuring the transaction to intentionally give diverse, small impact investors and Baltimore residents an opportunity to co-own the Shopping Center with TREND. We plan to finance the acquisition and redevelopment of the Shopping Center, which are expected to total approximately $40.45 million from the following sources:
- First mortgage debt of approximately $12.79 million
- Subordinate debt of approximately $7.78 million
- A city grant of $7.5 million
- A state grant of $5 million
- New Markets Tax Credit Equity of approximately $3.38 million
- Insurance proceeds of $2 million
- Sponsor equity (TREND) of $1.02 million
- Investor member equity (crowdfunding) of $980,000
TREND plans to use these funds to purchase the Shopping Center, make renovations and capital improvements and cover leasing, financing and soft costs. Anticipated sources and uses are tabulated below and you can review the operating proforma here.
|First Mortgage Debt||$12,794,100.|
|CDFI Subordinate Debt||$7,779,505.|
|Sponsor Equity (TREND)||$1,020,000.|
|Investor Member Equity (Crowdfunding)||$980,000.|
Investor members will receive 49% of the cash flow from the project while the sponsor will receive 51%. Distribution will be proportional to ownership of Investor Member shares.
As of now, the Company has only two classes of securities: Investor Shares and Sponsor Shares. The Investors in this Offering (which may include the Sponsor and its affiliates) will own all the Investor Shares, while all of the Sponsor Shares will be owned by the Manager. Investor Shares which total 1 million, shall include investors in this Offering, and may also include the Sponsor, its affiliates or investors acquired in a follow up offering.
The Company plans to distribute its Available Cash within thirty (30) days after the end of each calendar year. Please review the LLC Operating Agreement for additional detail.
A crowdfunding investment involves risk. You should not invest any funds in this offering unless you can afford to lose your entire investment.
In making an investment decision, Investors must rely on their own examination of the Companies and the terms of this offering, including the merits and risks involved. These securities have not been recommended or approved by any federal or state securities commission or regulatory authority. Furthermore, these authorities have not passed upon the accuracy or adequacy of this document. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission does not pass upon the merits of any securities offered or the terms of this offering, nor does it pass upon the accuracy or completeness of any offering document or literature related to this offering. These securities are offered under an exemption from registration; however, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has not made an independent determination that these securities are exempt from registration.
There are numerous risks to consider when making an investment such as this one and financial projections are just that - projections. Returns are not guaranteed. Conditions that may affect your investment include unforeseen construction costs, changes in market conditions, and potential disasters that are not covered by insurance. You can download a more expansive list of potential risks here.