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First African-American owned crowdfund makes inaugural purchase in East Point

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Plans call for an entrepreneur incubator and production studio that boosts community, leaders say

Two-story office building with landscaped entrance.
The former CarterBrothers building will soon be a new Legacy Center.
Courtesy of Tulsa Real Estate Fund

Just months after its June launch, the Tulsa Real Estate Fund, the first African-American owned crowdfund, has made its first purchase: East Point’s 3015 North Martin Street, officials tells Curbed Atlanta.

Following a renovation, the 30,000-square-foot building, purchased for $2.1 million, is planned to become an entrepreneur incubator and production studio known as the Legacy Center.

Just what that means, real estate mogul and TREF founder Jay Morrison, who raised more than $10 million in the fund’s first week, won’t say thus far.

“I can’t let too much out of the bag, but I can say that it will be a state-of-the-art building that the East Point community and our 12,000-plus TREF investment partners will be very proud of,” Morrison said in an interview with Curbed.

Construction is expected to take six months, although no exact completion date has been specified. Architecture firm Xmetrical, which is doing modern houses left and right around the city, has been contracted for the project.

A man and woman holding prints of floor plans.
Jay Morrison, and his wife, Ernestine, hold up copies of the floorplan for the new building.
Courtesy of Tulsa Real Estate Fund

Morrison said East Point was an ideal place for TREF to put down its initial roots.

“East Point is a qualified opportunity zone and is the type of community that our fund has a mission to empower,” he said. “The property itself was a great buy from NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter and his brother, [John, who together own CarterBrothers], at $2.1 million, appraising for $2.5 million. [It] provided us with a great space to develop our Legacy Center.”

A “qualified opportunity zone” allows investors to defer federal taxes by taking capital gains from other investments and, instead, investing those monies in these designated areas. Morrison hopes the project, once completed, will spark revitalization in the surrounding community.

“This asset and the businesses it fosters will help stimulate the local East Point economy with dozens of job opportunities,” Morrison said. “It will serve as a socioeconomic training center and an incubator accelerator for small businesses. It will also be the only building in the qualified opportunity zone of East Point that allows local community members to be equity partners or part-owners through investing.”

More than 12,000 families, Morrison notes, have become commercial real estate owners and legacy builders from the acquisition.

Those 12,000 families are investors in the crowdfund; while many come from all over the country, there is a large following based in Atlanta, Morrison said. The minimum to invest is $500, and the largest contribution was $40,000.

Going forward, expect to see TREF expand its footprint in the Atlanta market, although there’s no clear indication of where the next move will be.

“TREF is looking to be a capital partner and funding source for local Atlanta area investors, developers, and deal sponsors,” Morrison says. “We always keep an eye out for deals we can’t resist, however, our main focus as a funding source for urban communities is to provide the investment opportunity for everyone from working-class citizens to private institutions.”