Black real estate developer breaks ground on new housing project in his Southcrest neighborhood



Developer DaSean Cunningham broke ground on his first housing project in the neighborhood he grew up in. Seven new properties of Newton Gardens are slated to go up.

SAN DIEGO — Real estate developer DaSean Cunningham is elated he’s breaking ground on the Newton Gardens housing project in the Southcrest neighborhood he grew up in.

“Yeah we’re African-American men, but we are doing it. I can do real estate and do it well because I have seen someone who looks like me doing it,” mentioned Cunningham of Paradigm Commercial Group.

Finding a builder got here all the way down to an opportunity meeting of Joseph Lewis with Cunningham’s mom.

“I met her at Home Depot as she requested me my opinion on some paint, and I gave her a card, and he or she mentioned, ‘I believe you would assist my son,’” mentioned Lewis, proprietor of the Llewellyn Group, LLC, a land improvement company.

Lewis will oversee all of the Newton Gardens development at 4066 Newton Avenue.

“I personal this gear behind me, so tomorrow, I might be flattening this land out after which we are going to dig the footings the subsequent day,” Lewis mentioned.

Managing six different initiatives in this similar Southeast space of San Diego’s ninth district, Lewis mentioned it typically could be a battle going from the planning part to getting funding and constructing.

“I had never built a house before 2017, but I had to figure out how to get plans done, how to get the money and how to navigate the city because that’s really a journey navigating the city. I cannot be the only one who has had to go through this drama, and then DaSean walked into my life, and I am committed to get him through this project ahead of schedule,” Lewis mentioned.

The all-African American group is breaking ground whereas breaking limitations. The plans for the housing project encompass seven items, together with three-bedroom / three-bathroom villas. Cunningham invested $200,000 of his personal money, acquired a $400,000 mortgage to pay for development and has to pay for metropolis charges, water and sewer permits, and college and structure charges, totaling about $800,000.

“The primary supply of wealth in the United States is real estate. He’s a Black man like myself, and we acquired to assist one another in the space as we signify .25% of the business,” mentioned Demetre Booker Jr., managing associate for Elevate Commercial, a minority-owned industrial real estate agency.

Booker Jr. mentioned Cunningham’s project stands out in a group the place Black real estate possession is nicely under-represented.

“For him to own this is already a success. The average African-American net worth is $17,000 compared to Hispanics at $23,000 and Caucasians at $170,000. The majority of the affordable housing developers out there do not look like who lives in the communities that they are helping or doing business in, so there is often a disconnect of the services and resources and the rent within those projects,” Booker Jr. mentioned.

Newton Gardens is only a grime lot now, however Cunningham mentioned the project represents way more.

“I really like what this symbolizes. Like these African-American males who’re doing developments in San Diego in communities that they stay in and being a mannequin for what is feasible,” Cunningham mentioned.

The Newton Gardens improvement is anticipated to be accomplished by fall 2022.



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