Providence, RI – In a private ceremony, real estate developer Lanre Ajakaiye, a first generation African-American, recently broke ground on 25 Bough, the first redevelopment project in New England receiving approval for funding under Regulation CF (CrowdFunding), which was created under Title III of the JOBS act.
This provision opens investment opportunities to all citizens, dramatically changing the landscape of who has access to wealth-building investment opportunities. Historically, only accredited investors, typically the wealthiest 2% of Americans, could participate in these kinds of capital raises. Regulation CF has changed that, and investment opportunities presented through SEC/FINRA registered broker-dealers, or approved funding portals, are now open to all citizens.
“This was a dream of mine and my father’s,” says Ajakaiye, referring to the plan to turn an abandoned 15,000sf building into a community-empowering mixed-use facility. He calls it “a future home of BIPOC (Brown Indigenous People of Color) excellence that is welcome to all but targeted at the underserved in a city that is 73% Hispanic and Black.”
The development at 25 Bough St. includes an event space and industrial kitchen focused on supporting ethnic celebrations such as weddings, graduations, and quinceañeras; an athletic skills and health and wellness facility; co-working space; meeting rooms; educational facilities; and a cultural museum.
“It’s clear that this is the moment,” says Ajakaiye, “because investors from all over the country have identified the opportunity in Olneyville. As we speak, developers from Philadelphia, Seattle, Boston, and beyond have projects currently underway.”
Ajakaiye chose to use Regulation CF for early fundraising to differentiate his project from others in the area and drive community engagement. “All of these amenities will benefit the community,” he says, “and my vision is to make sure the people who live here can participate in the financial growth of this development.”
In its first week, the campaign raised $125,000 in a matter of days.