Cultivating Prosperity: The Making of Five Points
Beverlee Sanders
Five Points Development


Hi, I'm Diana Ward. I am a member of Sankofa Partners LLC. And many of you may know me because I'm also the executive director of Charlotte Joy Rides, the City's bike share program.



I own businesses in four cities, and I had to meet my landlord, who happens to live in Charlotte, and we had to meet up one day to talk about my office space down there. And he said, 'Hey, if you ever want to dabble in commercial real estate, let me know.' And so fast forward, I told him, I said, 'Hey, I think I found a building and I think the seller wants to sell it to me, will you be my realtor?' And then eventually, I was like, 'You know what, these projects are big enough to where it needs to not just be 'Hey, be my realtor, how about being a member of Sankofa partners LLC with me?'



Businesses in depressed areas like this are typically if the building has been sitting here, like this one had fairly rundown. They are costly, which is why all of the ones that looked like this look, were just sitting here because they're too expensive to fix up. So the facade grant, the security grant, and the Corridors of Opportunity funding that we received from the City, as well as the part grant, part loan from the Knight Foundation made this project possible.



I've always been in love with this area of town. We're standing right next to my first bank. We're standing in I mean, we're standing across the street from one of our only urban colleges. It was the only urban college for many years, Johnson C. Smith University. I love this corridor.



We wanted businesses on this end of the building that accentuated what the City was working on here. So we wanted pizza, ice cream, burgers, those types of things. And we absolutely wanted people who were going to be community oriented. We wanted businesses that were going to say you are welcome in my space, and that's what we got.



A lot of the work the City is putting money into is also valid for five other underdeveloped areas within the city. So we'll also be looking to those types of projects.