The Woodforest CEI-Boulos Opportunity Fund, a high-impact commercial real estate Opportunity Zone fund established by CEI-Boulos Capital Management and Woodforest National Bank®, made a $1.1 million equity investment in the Zero Energy North Avenue Affordable Housing project located in West Baltimore’s Penn North neighborhood. The project, which will rehabilitate abandoned, historic townhouses, is the first multifamily, zero energy development in Baltimore and the first mixed-use, zero energy development in Maryland. The Woodforest CEI-Boulos Opportunity Fund is the only outside equity investor in the $4.9 million, environmentally innovative project spearheaded by Baltimore’s Schreiber Brothers Development.
The project will create 20 units of affordable housing with units targeted to households earning 50% and 80% of area median income. Four commercial storefronts will be leased to local, Black-owned businesses and neighborhood nonprofits, including a child care service provider in a community that has long suffered from disinvestment.
The project is on the forefront of environmentally sustainable building practices and will provide a unique example to the City of Baltimore of building affordable housing in a highly environmentally sustainable manner. Solar panels and super-insulated walls will allow the property to produce as much energy as it consumes, reducing energy costs and allowing the housing units to be even more affordable. About a third of the 100-120 construction jobs will be filled by a workforce development nonprofit providing training and experience in sustainable development and solar panel installation to individuals with low incomes. The project addresses the overarching issue of environmental justice in underinvested communities.
This project responds to what leaders and activists have told us they want for the Penn North community. We are here to support the vision that residents, business owners and other partners have for their neighborhood and lead the way in ensuring community members are at the table for every step.Brandan Schreiber, President Schreiber Brothers Development
The project is located within Baltimore’s recently designated “Black Arts District,” once a thriving center of Black culture from 1940s through the 1960s. Many of the tenants are expected to be artists and a local arts organization will sponsor a mural for the building’s facade.
“CEI-Boulos Capital Management is committed to harnessing the Opportunity Zone incentive to serve its intended purpose – to invest in catalytic projects that can help revitalize underinvested communities, like Penn North,” said Sam Spencer, CEO and Managing Director, CEI-Boulos Capital Management. “The investment is a great example of the fund’s efforts to leverage private capital to help address the nation’s renewed focus on racial and economic disparity.”
“This project is a perfect example of using the OZ incentive and CRA investment to help make the vision community members had for the neighborhood a reality,” said Doug Schaeffer, Executive Vice President, CRA Executive Director, Woodforest National Bank. “Our fund prioritizes investments that intentionally engage local communities and provide capital to elevate underinvested assets to their full potential.”