Our vision for the Neighborhood REIT model at scale is somewhat different from the relatively small scale initial pilot project that was launched in Echo Park.
At scale, we envision that a Neighborhood REIT could be among the largest owners of housing and local real estate within a neighborhood. By organizing as a Benefit Corp. (or Public Benefit Corp.), the non-financial objectives prioritized by local stakeholders could be part of each Neighborhood REITs unique charter and measure of success.
Over time, the ownership of this Neighborhood REIT could grow to include thousands of local stockholders, and be a conduit for large scale investors to invest capital alongside and in partnership with a diverse group of community stakeholders. These local stockholders could be active in determining the strategic priorities of the company (in service to local stakeholders, beyond just stockholders) – though the company itself would be managed by a third party organization that aggregated management expertise and resources on behalf of many independent Neighborhood REITs.
Over the mid- to long-term, the scope (number of local stockholders and capital invested or granted to local stockholders) and value (market value of the shares) would increase such that the local stockholders would likely grow to own a significant stake in (perhaps even a majority of) the Neighborhood REIT – a long-term local vehicle for community wealth creation, ownership, and decision making.
But community ownership itself is not the end goal here – it’s a tool to ensure that as neighborhoods change (as they always have, and always will), they do so in a way that includes a broad coalition of longtime residents, businesses, and other stakeholders as principal decision makers. It’s about the agency that ownership confers – the rights that owners have to participate in decision making and to determine, for themselves, how financial wealth generated through ownership can best serve them. It’s also about enabling everyone within a community to have pride of ownership and about the types of community positive outcomes that we believe broad pride of ownership enables.