In April 2021, NIIF joined with Reinvestment Fund to provide senior debt financing in support the acquisition of Walbrook Junction Shopping Center, a 47,070-square-foot neighborhood retail hub located in West Baltimore. The Center was acquired by Chicago TREND, a Black-led retail consulting and development company founded as a social enterprise that is working to promote diverse, local ownership of real estate assets. The transaction was supported by a crowd-funding campaign that generated more than $300,000 in investment from over 100 small investors.
“When was the last time that lower- and middle-income Baltimore residents, intentionally Black residents, were given an opportunity to own a shopping center?” noted Lynier Richardson, Co-founder and CEO of TREND. “Neighbors can own it and make the shopping center better over time. We hope they will take pride in it, protect it and patronize the shopping center in a way maybe they wouldn’t if they didn’t have an ownership in it.”
Walbrook Junction is anchored by Rite Aid and Save-A-Lot, and is located in an area near Coppin State University that is seeing significant capital investment. Other recent projects include the $20 million redevelopment of the former Walbrook Mill & Lumber Co. site into a mixed use affordable housing and retail location. In addition, the nearby Hebrew Orphans Asylum opened last year as a health facility, and the Cahill Wellness and Fitness Center reopened just last month after an $18 million renovation.