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New Atlanta equity firm’s model calls for neighbors’ cash to boost local development

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First up is a planned mixed-use venture at a defunct East Point car dealership. But will neighbors wager?

A low red brick building with a white garage door.
The redevelopment of this East Point building has lofty ambitions but insufficient cash right now, per the equity firm.
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A newly established equity firm wants Atlantans to put their money where their aspirations for community improvements are.

DreamVentures looks to raise $6 million for investments throughout Atlanta, particularly south of downtown in such places as East Point, Lakewood, and Chosewood Park.

“We are looking to invest between $50,000 to $500,000 per project,” managing partner Ryan Thomas told Curbed Atlanta. “We’ve embarked on crowdfunding in general because we’ve seen it grow and mature to real equity investments for community members.”

The firm is starting in East Point with a Church Street project in a former car dealership, where a small development company, Tri-Cities Building and Land, has been brainstorming alongside Atlanta-based architecture firm Kronberg Wall. The intent is create a transit-served retail, brew, and food hub with a “middle housing” component.

“We saw they had trouble raising funds, so we reached out to them about our crowdsourcing funds,” Thomas said. “Our goal for the East Point project is $200,000.”

DreamVentures hopes to raise those funds locally. Area residents can invest as little as $100, he said.

Low red-brick building with large covered area.
DreamVentures already is eyeing other investment possibilities near the proposed mixed-use development at this former car dealership.
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Initially, according to DreamVentures’s plan, investors will receive an 8-percent preferred return, with a total return rate of 15 percent over 10 years, Thomas said.

“This is an opportunity for local residents to build out their real estate portfolio assets right here at home,” Thomas said. “We’re educating the community on how it works, the risks, and the benefits. People are excited and want to know how they can get involved.”

Right now, DreamVentures is hosting in-person meet-ups to introduce the firm and crowdfunding concept to area citizens and answer questions about the process. The goal is to host one meeting per week as long as necessary to inform community members.

Thomas said he estimates it will take until year’s end to hit DreamVentures’s $6 million goal. Beyond the car dealership project, DreamVentures is looking ahead to other opportunities.

Those include additional projects in East Point near the former car dealership, as well as projects in Lakewood, Chosewood Park, and the Grant Park area that include mixed-use developments along with affordable housing units.