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Living Inside the Box

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By Lisa Harrison Rivas

Local entrepreneur aims to bring more shipping container homes to S.A.

It’s no secret that in San Antonio and much of the nation home prices are on the rise. Affordability is an issue in many communities, and this has led to thinking outside of the box when it comes to creating housing that is both affordable and appealing. The tiny house option is one way some are downsizing their living space as well as their debt. Shipping container homes are another unique dwelling option.

Though not a new concept, these homes are not common in the San Antonio area, but master designer Anya K. Bartay wants to change that. She has designed a house on the East Side using two shipping containers, and she also can incorporate several of the 40′ x 8′ containers to build a multi-level home that’s as big as a traditional house. The base price for a 2,000 square-foot home is around $220,000.

Her love of design and architecture began when she was a child. She spent part of her childhood in Panama and said that experience helped her appreciate the value of what we have in the United States.

She also credits her life in Panama with spurring the creation of Project N.O.A.H which stands for Net Zero Affordable Housing. Bartay stresses she is not designing government housing but housing that is affordable.

One of the homes she designed sits on the East Side and will become an Airbnb rental so that people can see what a shipping container home is like before they buy one. And soon, Bartay and her family will move into a container home she is building in Northeast San Antonio. It will be a model home she and her family will be living in for a year to provide data on how the house impacts the environment.

“We’re going to work with UTSA, CPS, Eco Central on monitoring all of the systems that are going to be implemented in that house. The solar, the rainwater collection to see how much is real, how much we use. To see how less of an impact we create with that house.”

Bartay recently discussed her plans to bring more shipping container homes to San Antonio.

Q: What are you working on right now?

A: I’m working on a partnership with a factory that is already building shipping container homes to facilitate my need for the construction and to help them with their need for sales. We do have a subdivision that we have in mind. The owners of that property (on the Southside) said they will give us the land and we will create a neighborhood.

Q: Why would someone choose to buy a shipping container home?

A:  The first thing is safety. The container is resistant to tornados, hurricanes, torrential winds. Lots of construction won’t withstand those different disasters.

Q: How do people react to your project?

A: When I give them a proper understanding of what container homes could look like, their reaction is wonderful.

Q:  How did you become interested in building shipping container homes?

A: What I did was start doing searches and finding out what would be acceptable to present to people I worked with who needed a little bit of financial assistance getting their architectural needs met. So, shipping containers came up.

Q: Have you talked to city officials?

A:  I have presented this to Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert Jr., Senator Jose Menéndez, Neighborhood Housing Services of America and SAHA. And they’ve all agreed to using it.

Q: So how did you get training to build these homes?

A:  Once I had a nonprofit ask me about my designs, and then I got an investor. I looked up the details on YouTube and I put them into practice and started doing the work myself. I’ve been drawing it for years, so it’s just doing it now.

Q: Describe your style

A: I have 75 percent masonry on the outside and all the different means that everyone has for permanent housing. We are embedded into the foundation. And one of the biggest things is that we provide a thermal insulation coating and a rust-o proof coating for the container so that we avoid mold or any kind of disease.

Q: How much would a basic container home cost?

A: $110 a square foot (40-foot long containers are used). We have closing costs and money down assistance for an FHA or conventional loan.

Q: What type of foundation do the homes have?

A: We can do piers if you have elasticity in the soil. And you can do a regular slab on grade if you have nice solid bedrock.

Q: How long does it take to complete?

A: It should take no more than three months, but we’re going to be striving for one and a half. Most of the construction happens in one day. If it’s a custom, we’ll say three to six months.

Q: What are some of the things you can do to customize a container home?

A: Instead of sheetrock, you may want to use wood paneling, or put brick on the outside, or have an accent wall. You can do a lot of different variations of finishes.

Q: Do you help clients come up with a design?

A:  We try to help get the psychology behind the client’s needs and implement it into the design.


Lisa Harrison Rivas is a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Don Johnson Realtors. If you are planning to buy or sell, feel free to contact her at 210-380-9006 or 
lhrivas@realsa.com

Business

EXPANDING BLACK BUSINESS CREDIT INITIATIVE CLOSES $29M FOR THE BLACK VISION FUND

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The Fund Will Increase the Pipeline of Funding for Black-owned Small Businesses 

The Expanding Black Business Credit network (EBBC) officially announced today the final close of its Black Vision Fund. The fund will lend long-term funds to six successful Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) with long histories of inclusive investing in order to expand their lending activity to small businesses in underserved communities. A primary goal is to reduce the racial wealth gap that plagues the Black community.

“The Black Vision Fund is the result of a network of Black-led/focused loan fund CEOs collaborating to create a fund that will demonstrate that there is a large market opportunity that has been neglected, which is the growing number of successful Black-owned small businesses in the country,” says Gary Cunningham, President and CEO of Prosperity Now.  Black Vision Fund’s CDFI network servicing a variety of markets across the country includes MEDA, Community First Fund, City First Broadway Bank, Black Business Investment Fund, Hope Enterprise Corporation/Credit Union, and National Community Investment Fund.

EBBC members are experienced Community Development Financial Institutions with more than $1.5 billion in combined total assets who currently help support entrepreneurs and small businesses in Pennsylvania, Maryland, District of Columbia, Minnesota, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and California.

The fund will be managed by LISC New Markets Support Company (NMSC), an affiliate of Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and benefits from an anchor contribution from EBBC made possible by a significant grant from Wells Fargo. Additional funding partners include Amalgamated Bank, Ceniarth, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and Opportunity Finance Network (OFN). All of these funders have contributed long-term, low-interest loan capital to the Black Vision Fund which will be on-lent to participating CDFIs.  The CDFIs, in turn, will provide financing to eligible small businesses operating in or benefiting disadvantaged communities, including Black-owned small businesses.

According to the U.S Federal Reserve, while Black-owned businesses were more likely to apply for bank financing, less than 47% of their applications were fully funded. The data found that Black-owned businesses were two times as likely to be turned down for loans as white business owners. Building on EBBC’s commitment to create thriving business ecosystems that strengthen Black-owned small businesses, Black-led nonprofits, and the Black-focused/led CDFIs that help them to succeed, the Black Vision Fund invests in CDFIs serving as a lending intermediary between funders and disadvantaged small businesses throughout the country. 

“Black-led and Black-focused financial institutions locate and invest in Black communities at much higher rates than white-owned financial institutions,” says Bill Bynum, CEO of Hope Credit Union in Jackson, Mississippi. “The CDFIs supported by the Black Vision Fund will provide vital capital that will accelerate the growth of Black-owned small businesses.” 

Greater investment in Black-led or Black-focused financial institutions and businesses would have an historic impact on the racial wealth gap and expanding access to credit for Black business owners. Financing Black businesses increases the net worth of families of owners, creates local jobs, provides needed local goods and services, and ultimately contributes to supporting economic growth in Black communities. 

To learn more about EBBC and Black Vision Fund, please visit ebbcfund.org About EBBC 

Expanding Black Business Credit (EBBC) was formed in 2016 as a CEO Peer Learning Network by leaders of Black-led/focused Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to share best practices in lending to Black businesses and prove that there is an attractive market of Black-owned businesses that can be financed by the financial services industry and thereby reduce persistent inequalities of wealth, income and opportunity in Black communities.

They created a report to prove the value of equalizing lending to Black-owned small businesses and developed the Black Vision Fund to execute on it.About Black Vision Fund 

The Black Vision Fund (BVF) approves and invests loans in EBBC member Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that will then provide financing specifically to Black-owned small businesses. It is a vehicle that helps corporate and philanthropic investors put their capital to work to address racial and socio-economic disparities, fueling CDFIs with long histories of inclusive investing and deep connections to the communities they serve.

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Bodka Creek Capital acquires 460 Apt. Units

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Bodka Creek Capital Now Largest Black Woman Owned Real Estate Private Equity Firm in US

HOUSTON, Feb. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Bodka Creek Capital has acquired Valencia Grove Apartments, a 460-Unit Multifamily Complex in Houston, Texas.

Valencia Grove Apartments  was the third acquisition for Bodka in 2021, following the close of two complexes in 1H 2021. The investment establishes Bodka Creek as the largest African-American, woman-owned real estate private equity firm in the United States. Located at 11810 Algonquin Drive, the property features a sparkling swimming pool, resident clubhouse, two dog parks, mature oak trees, spacious courtyards, and three onsite laundry facilities. Valencia is situated between Houston Hobby Airport and the NASA Mission Control Center and neighbors Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital and San Jacinto College South Campus. 

The firm plans to execute a value-add strategy that will drive occupancy and net operating income up, thus increasing the value of the property. Bodka Creek Capital is dedicated to revitalizing the exterior, interior, and amenities of the property to better serve current and future residents. Some of these improvements will include the addition of a new playground and walking trail, updating the resort style pool area, enhancing the property building systems, and renovating unit interiors.

“Valencia Grove exemplifies our multifamily value-add acquisition strategy and our emphasis on utilizing investment as a tool to build and improve communities,” Allyson Pritchett, Founder & CEO at Bodka Creek Capital, said in a news release. “Our past investments showcase our focus on the transformation of properties into high quality / budget friendly housing while building strong communities, a product which is increasingly in short supply. With the Southeast seeing such tremendous growth, we feel investments like these will be ever more important for the region into the future.” 

Investment Partners included RTC Global Investments, Value Investment Partners, Trinity Investors, Impex Capital Group and Melifera Partners.

Vernon Beckford and Eric Andrew of Diversified Lending Solutions and Dwight Mortgage Trust’s New York Office secured the debt financing.

About Bodka Creek Capital
Bodka Creek Capital, LLC (http://www.bodkacreekcapital.com) is a privately held real estate private equity firm, engaged in the acquisition and active management of commercial property. The Houston-based company focuses on value-add and ground up development strategies in the multifamily, mixed-use, and self-storage sectors. Bodka Creek Capital currently manages a $100 million commercial real estate portfolio with almost 1000 multifamily units totaling more than 1,000,000-square feet of commercial space. The firm will continue to pursue value-add opportunities across the Southeast.

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Robert Smith could be 1st Black NFL Owner

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Robert Smith is a businessman and philanthropist who has had a very successful career in the financial industry. He has been interested in owning an NFL team for some time, but had not found the right opportunity.

The Denver Broncos are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL. They have won 6 Super Bowls and are currently valued at $2.6 billion, making them one of the most valuable franchise in football.

It should come as no surprise that a billionaire from Colorado has emerged as one of the possible bidders for the Broncos. An NFL success story, his efforts will make him the first black team owner in NFL history.

Smith would need to spend $1.2 billion, as the NFL requires primary owners to put up 30% in cash.

According to a Denver Gazette report, six groups are looking to buy the Broncos. One has former quarterback Peyton Manning and former president & general manager of the Broncos John Elway. Others include a group led by Ms. Brittany Bowlen – daughter of late owner Pat Bowlen.

The sale of the Broncos could go for more than $4 billion, making it the richest team sale in the history of American sports. If the team sells for $4 billion, Smith would need to spend $1.2 billion, as the NFL requires primary owners to put up 30% in cash.

Denver native Smith has pledged to pay off student debt acquired by 400-plus of the University’s graduates. He is currently the chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners which he founded in 2000.

Smith has an estimated net worth of $6.7 billion and is ranked as the richest Black person in America, according to Forbes. The Broncos have a current value of $3.75 billion, with room to grow to more than $4 billion if sold now.

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