A new kind of co-op for small biz and arts organizations

Caroline Woolard first got the idea to invest in commercial property when she realized she would soon be priced out of her artist's studio in Brooklyn.

But when she and a handful of her fellow renters—welders, fashion designers, painters, woodworkers—looked into investing in their space, they learned that they didn't qualify for a loan. Banks didn't see co-workers banding together; they saw individual artisans who simply didn't have the cash required of them.

"It's expensive to be poor," said Ms. Woolard, 31. "If you don't have capital, not much is possible."

As a small group they may have been financially powerless, but if they were an organized collective of hundreds of small investors, Ms. Woolard thought, they would not be. By forming the NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative, about 200 New Yorkers from diverse neighborhoods, professions, ethnicities and tax brackets hope to invest jointly in commercial property in areas where rents are rising rapidly, carving out permanently affordable space for community-based small businesses and cultural organizations.

Read the full article at Crain's New York Business


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