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Kennedy Wilson Partners With Louisiana Church in First Phase of $40M Development Fund


(BEVERLY HILLS, CA) -- The big guns of Wall Street are partnering with a Louisiana church in what they say is a unique joint venture of  Riverscape Parkway, a 50-acre, multi-phase, mixed-use development  along the riverfront in Shreveport, LA.

Kennedy Wilson, the international investment firm based in Beverly Hills, CA, is the  fund manager of the $40 million Northwest Louisiana Community Development Fund 1.

The fund is partnering with a separate joint venture between local developer Vintage Realty Company and the non-profit Trinity One Development Corp. which is affiliated with the Shreveport Tabernacle Baptist Church.

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Barry Schlesinger

Barry Schlesinger, Co-CEO for Kennedy Wilson, says "it is one of the first true joint ventures between a leading for-profit local developer and a faith-based community organization and is anticipated to establish a national model for how such joint venture developments can be undertaken."

JPMorgan Chase and TIAA-CREF, as the Fund's lead investors, have each committed up to $10 million. National Foundations, including the F. B. Heron Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, have also committed to invest in the Fund. Locally, Regions Bank is also an investor.

"'These large investors found the Fund's commitment to the financial bottom line, as well as to the community's economic development, to be very compelling," Schlesinger says.

Riverscape Parkway is "characteristic of the 'smart growth,' new urbanism-style projects prevalent on the East and West Coasts, but uncommon in the South," he says.

It will be built in phases, which may include development of an additional 30 acres. Plans call for a town center with retail and commercial uses; walkable neighborhoods with multi-family rental and for-sale units; single family market-rate homes and workforce housing;  pocket parks and green spaces.

Schlesinger says the Northwest Louisiana Community Development Fund I is a part of a rapidly growing $20 billion national Double Bottom Line industry, and is the first of its kind in the South and in a smaller market economy.

"Focused on the 10-parish region of Northwest Louisiana, its mission is to achieve double bottom line goals in terms of market-rate financial returns for investors (first bottom line), and measurable jobs, income, wealth and community revitalization (second bottom line)," he says.

The Fund will invest in real estate projects in the region which will include mixed-use, mixed-income projects, workforce housing and commercial joint ventures with a range of developers and builders in the community.

Schlesinger says, "A unique Local Investor Group (LIG) brings African-American and Anglo-American investors together to invest jointly in these important endeavors. Red River Bank is the largest local financial investor in the group. Major national investors came on board because this diverse Local Investor Group committed first."

These investors, along with Kennedy Wilson, have contributed more than $15 million for the Fund, "which will continue to hold subsequent closings for the rest of the year until it reaches its target of $40 million," Schlesinger adds. 

Before joining Kennedy Wilson, Schlesinger served as a director of Heitman Financial Ltd., and was chairman and CEO of Heitman Properties Ltd. Earlier, he was associated with Tishman Realty and Construction Co. and the United States Army Corps of Engineers.



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