Brinda Devine
27 Mar

Embarking on my journey in commercial real estate over three decades ago, I've carved out a unique path as a Black woman in this industry. With expertise primarily in asset management—with diverse corporate real estate portfolios—and now branching into real estate development, I've witnessed firsthand the intricacies of this dynamic field.

Asset management, to me, is more than just a role—it's a commitment. It's about assuming the responsibility of a fiduciary, meticulously handling others' assets as if they were my own. It involves a relentless pursuit of understanding, probing into details and patterns often overlooked, and driving towards innovative solutions.

Before 2020, as a commercial real estate professional, I don’t recall ever attending  any commercial real estate classes, training sessions, webinars, or worked on projects that addressed  neighborhoods.
Unfortunately, commercial real estate and investment tend to focus on downtown, midtown, and suburbs, leaving neighborhoods to underfunded community developers, small-scale developers, and residents seeking solutions to larger problems.

The disregard for neighborhoods isn't just a passing concern; it's a deeply ingrained societal issue. What remains unseen is often dismissed or ignored.
In 2020, my perspective shifted as I delved into local neighborhood reports revealing the dire need for healthy food options within urban areas—a concerning trend I identified as the emergence of food deserts.

Growing up, the accessibility of groceries was never a question for me, and I'd venture to guess it's been the same for many of you. But food deserts don't materialize overnight; they evolve silently, rooted in economic patterns. Yet, because neighborhoods often escape the radar of commercial real estate, these patterns go unnoticed, perpetuating the cycle of food insecurity. It's time to shift our focus to our neighborhoods, to pose the tough questions and seek out sustainable solutions.

Last week marked a pivotal moment as lenders from Cinnaire's Midwest lending division visited my Kornr Store project on 16th Street and Ferry Park Street in the historic NW Goldberg neighborhood. Among them were passionate individuals dedicated to revitalizing a century-old neighborhood market, preserving its legacy of providing wholesome food and beverage options to the NW Goldberg community.

Big shout outs Terrence White and Cinnaire’s lending team for making the time to stop by @kornrstore.

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