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Dallas developers of color find access to capital through inaugural initiative

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Queenetra Andrews knew this offer would help her cousins.

“Hey, did you know you qualified for this?” she texted in a group chat to coordinate plans for Thanksgiving.

It wasn’t the first time she posted a link in a family text thread to a bank helping first-time homebuyers. She’s found a new library of resources since starting her fair development initiative six months ago.

The Equitable Development Initiative aims to help emerging real estate developers of color build affordable housing in Dallas. Capital Impact Partners, a nonprofit community development finance company headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, launched the program in 2018 with groups from Detroit, Washington, DC, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Andrews is one of 15 developers graduating on Friday. Capital Impact’s first Dallas cohort of a program funded by JPMorgan Chase and Charles Schwab.

Queenetra Andrews’ firm has built dozens of single-family homes in Dallas.(Juan Figueroa/Staff Photographer)

A small number of developers, selected from over 100 applicants, will receive a free training course lasting approximately 6 months. At Friday’s ceremony, they can pitch conceptual real estate projects that include affordable housing in uninvested Dallas communities.

Andrews says many of the resources he learned through EDI could benefit his family and those who grew up with him in South Dallas.

“I try to educate myself about all the programs here and speak at roundtables just to tell people in the community,” said Andrews.

Capital Impact is focused on connecting developers of color with access to capital, said Aaron Gougis, the company’s Dallas Initiatives Manager.

“We look for areas that traditional lenders typically overlook,” Gugis says. “They may be developers or entrepreneurs just beginning their careers. They may not have the depth of experience that lenders are looking for.”

south dallas business owner Gougis said it struggles to access business loans that flow to established developers.

“In our city, local citizens can’t always participate in how their communities will shape in the future,” he said. “We hope to be part of a solution that can address that.”

After owning a trucking business since 2014, Andrews decided to launch a single-family development company in 2020. In his two years running Andrews Development & Holdings as General Contractor, CEO and Owner, he has built over 36 homes.

Before joining the Initiative, she knew the basics of building. But she didn’t know how to grow her own business — about finances, tax credits, or taking on multifamily projects.

“Small business owners in underserved areas don’t really have the support to know about finances,” she said.

For Andrews, the main lesson from the program was the importance of building a network to learn from and collaborate with other developers.

The variety of skills possessed by the cohort members makes the training a rich experience, Gougis says.

“Being a real estate developer is a rewarding career and not a one-person job,” says Gougis. “You need a team. You need people to help you reach your goals and vice versa.”

Most of the cohort have less than 5 years of experience. But there are also industry veterans like Joe Dillard III, who has been involved in project management for decades.

His background stems from an architecture and engineering education, and after seeing real estate development in general, he wanted to dive deeper into the economics of the industry. So Dillard applied for his EDI.

In his many years of work, he said he hadn’t met many black developers, but he had seen how the banking divide among people of color stunted their potential for professional growth. rice field.

“There were challenges that seemed insurmountable,” said Dillard. “But programs like this one, our relationship with Capital Impact Partners, are encouraging.”

Joe Dillard III has been involved in project management for decades, but Equitable...
Joe Dillard III has been involved in project management for decades, but joined the Equitable Development Initiative program to learn new ways to approach real estate development.(Rebecca Slezak/Staff Photographer)

For the past decade, on and off, Dillard has advised on project management at the Friendship-West Baptist Church in Oak Cliff, not far from where he grew up.

He watched the community grow along with a large distribution center and thought about the impact it would have on the people living there.

“The traffic, the noise, the environmental aspects of air quality, all these things,” Dillard said. “It’s like watching a hopeless movie. That’s the only reality.”

Through EDI, Dillard says he has gained confidence in his ability to influence the community through development and make incremental change.

“We’re going to make a movie that everybody wants to be a part of, not just see it,” Dillard said.

Dillard assisted Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church with the initial design of a planned six-acre development in Pleasant Grove. Early plans were for a low density project, but since joining the cohort we have introduced high density to our site plans to create the quality housing so desperately needed by our community.

Church leaders are excited about the high-density model and plan to join the project soon after graduation, Dillard said. He also hopes to use the new contacts he has gained from the program to seek additional funding to realize the church’s vision for the community.

“Any form of education is accountable,” said Dillard. “If you know better, you should do better.”

For most of the homes Andrews has built, she has tried to keep the price tag under $300,000. Median home price in the area $400,000 in October. It’s a rewarding process for her, especially on the final day when her family takes pictures in their future home.

But in the final days of the Capital Impact course, she said she’s more excited about multifamily development. As the housing market changes and interest rates soar, fewer people will be able to buy the homes they may have previously owned, she said. She hopes to address it in future projects.

“People who can’t afford a $400,000 home still need a place to live,” says Andrews.

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