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Chicago businessman launches effort for community-owned shopping mall in Roseland

Community-owned shopping center effort launched in Roseland
Community-owned shopping center effort launched in Roseland 02:21

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Can a community-owned shopping center in Roseland help solve the long-standing challenge of building wealth in communities of color? A Chicago businessman is launching a first-of-its-kind campaign to help people in underserved neighborhoods to invest in local shopping centers and benefit from helping their community thrive.

In the wake of the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, and the rioting that followed, businesses pledged billions to towards racial justice issues.

"There was all of these national calls for racial wealth gap closing strategies," said Lyneir Richardson, co-founder and CEO of Chicago TREND.

But nearly four years since the widespread civil unrest sparked by Floyd's murder, Richardson said there wasn't enough follow-through on those calls to address the racial wealth gap.

That's why he launched a crowdfunding campaign for people who live and work in Roseland to become co-owners in the Roseland Medical and Retail Center at 100 W. 111th St. With a minimum investment of $1,000, investors earn a return on the revenue collected from rent.

"People hopefully will patronize and protect and respect this shopping center in a different way," Richardson said.

Roseland native Leon Walker, managing partner of DL3 Realty, could have sold the shopping center to the highest bidder, but went out of the way to sell it to a Black-led investment firm.

"You know, in the Black and brown community, we don't have the kitchen table with the rich uncle, you know? So you have to create other alternative means for exposure, and for pathways into the business," he said.

Richardson said, in launching the program to help people in underserved neighborhoods invest in local shopping malls, "we looked for a community that's sort of on the cusp of change."

He and Walker hope this opportunity provides that pathway into business.

"You want people to have an ownership stake as the neighborhood gets stronger," Richardson said.

Chicago TREND has already tested out the model in Baltimore, where their shopping centers have more than 330 investors – 58% are Black, 42% are women, and the average person invested $2,275.

"They're church mothers. There's charter school parents. They're young professionals," Richardson said.

Walker said the goal is to one day make these local investors into developers themselves, and "keeping dollars circulating in our community."

For interested investors, the funding portal is live now, and there are already informational meetings scheduled, including one at 6 p.m. on Wednesday (March 27) on Zoom.

Groups of five or more people can contact Emma Gonzalez Roberts at to schedule an info session.  

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