The strategic focus of the residential and commercial real estate department is to take the lead in purchasing and renovating commercial and residential real estate in Black communities. All BAF real estate will belong collectively to BAF members and will never be sold. Instead, members will be allowed to lease BAF real estate at below-market rates, and in addition, all members will receive 15% annual equity on their residential leases. It's like receiving the economic benefits of homeownership without qualifying for a mortgage or being burdened with property taxes and maintenance.
Additionally, the BAF will secure between 30,000 - 50,000 acres to build an all new model Black community based on one of the first successful all-Black towns in America, Mound Bayou, Mississippi, founded in 1887 by formerly enslaved Blacks. This planned community will be designed with direct input and labor from members, all the way down to the building of the bricks for the buildings. We will especially utilize the labor of members who received certifications through the BAF's Construction Training Centers. This planned community, our version of "Wakanda," will be environmentally friendly, cosmopolitan, pedestrian, and will accommodate members at every income level. Perhaps more significantly, the community will be governed democratically by members.
To learn more about Mound Bayou, click below for a free class on its founding and development, compliments of BAF and Education for Life Academy (EFLA), home of the Standing on the Shoulders of Giants Black history curriculum.
YEAR 1 BUDGET
25,000 - 30,000 new upscale residential units in Black communities across the country.
20,000 - 30,000 renovated residential units in Black communities across the country.
Below market rates on all residential units.
Members receive 15% equity on their yearly residential lease.
Upscale commercial properties to accommodate 1000 new Black businesses across the country.
Purchase of 30,000 - 50,000 acres for the development of an all new planned Black community/town.
Creation of Free Construction Training Centers & at-cost BAF member Tool Rental Centers.
"Property is intended to serve life, and no matter how much we surround it with rights and respect, it has no personal being. It is part of the earth man walks on. It is not man."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Renovated Residential Properties
With few exceptions, Black communities across the country do not reflect the level of progress Black people have made in America. Despite the presence of a visible Black middle class, majority-Black communities have been systematically neglected for decades and are subsequently considered undesirable. As a result, the residential real estate in Black communities is primarily distressed and less valuable than in any other community. In many major cities like Baltimore, Chicago, and Birmingham, whole residential sections of the Black community are underdeveloped, making them almost impossible to attract individual Black buyers, tenants, or investors of any kind. Many of these properties can be acquired for as little as $1 through government redevelopment programs. The BAF will take advantage of these programs and begin renovating or rebuilding thousands of distressed properties in Black communities. These properties will then be leased to BAF members at below-market rate. Members will additionally receive 15% in equity for each year they successful satisfy their lease.
New Residential Developments
In addition to renovating thousands of residential properties in Black neighborhoods across the country, the BAF will build new model residential developments. These new developments will be designed and built with direct input from members, including building the bricks, painting, landscaping, and other aspects of the development process.
All BAF renovated and new residential properties will be built using the highest standards and the highest quality material as we are building for longevity - not to make a profit. Our material of choice will be brick. We will create brick-making workshops where BAF members learn how and participate in making bricks for all of our real estate developments. We want our members to take pride in and respect in what we build and there is no better way to accomplish this than by having members literally build their community with their own hands. This labor will be part of the 5 hours of annual community service required of all BAF members.
Upscale Commercial Development for Black Businesses
In 2015 the US Census reported that there were 2.6 million black or African American-owned firms nationally in 2012, up 34.5% from 2007. However, most of these businesses are operating on a shoe-string budget and do not have access to capital to create upscale brick-and-mortar businesses, expand, or invest in new technologies or industries with high entry costs but high rates of return. As a result, countless Black businesses are barely surviving and not serving the full need of the community, even as the number of businesses increase.
The BAF will purchase and develop to suit commercial spaces for Black entrepreneurs, ensuring that the Black community has access to upscale brick-and-mortar businesses. The BAF will collectively own these commercial properties and will lease them to Black businessmen and women at well below-market value in exchange for reduced prices for members. BAF members with businesses will also be eligible for grants and loans as well as technical assistance and strategic support through our Small Business and Investments Department to help ensure their success.
Construction Training Centers
"Every form of true education trains the student in self-reliance."
- Dr. John Henrik Clarke
Though BAF's Construction Training Centers our members will learn how - and be paid - to rebuild Black communities, brick-by-brick!
Our free programs will include Construction Training Centers in each region that will provide training in the following fields:
Plaster, Sheetrock Hanging & Repair
Hardwood floor & carpet installation & repair
Framing and Window installation
Commercial and residential painting
Framing and Roofing
Brick making & laying
Tile installation & repair
Asphalt & concrete
E.F.I.S. & Stucco application & repair
Other industrial training programs will be coordinated through our Manufacturing and Transportation Dept. They will include training in all of the manufacturing plants that the BAF creates.
Tool Banks & Training Centers
To augment our Construction Training programs, the BAF will create Tool Banks and Tool Training Centers to aid individuals once they receive their construction certifications. BAF members will have the opportunity to rent all types tools for 3% of the tool's value per rental period, which is different for each tool. Tools will include major and minor tools from screwdrivers, shovels and rakes, to bulldozers, excavators, and boom trucks.
By creating tool banks and tool training centers, the BAF will empower construction workers, contractors and developers by giving them access to high tech, expensive equipment that they may otherwise not have been able to acquire for a specific job. With our tool banks and tool training centers, Black construction works will be more independent, and more competitive as they will be able to submit lower bids to win more contracts. However, the tool banks and training centers will be open to all BAF members.
Homeowner Repair Program
"There are two ways of exerting one's strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up."
"If you want to lift yourself up, lift someone else up."
- Booker T. Washington