[Baltimore Sun] La Cite’s Poppleton development gets investment from T.D. Jakes, entrepreneur and religious leader

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La Cité Development, the New York firm revitalizing Poppleton under a deal with Baltimore city, is getting an investment from T.D. Jakes, a millionaire entrepreneur and religious leader, to jump start housing growth in the Southwest Baltimore neighborhood.

La Cité announced the partnership with Jakes, chairman and CEO of the Dallas-based T.D. Jakes Group, on its website. Jakes’ global company works through strategic alliances on projects to boost underserved communities and reverse housing disparities.

La Cité did not say how much Jakes will invest initially or outline specific projects, saying only that the partners are committed to “developing sustainable and thriving communities” at a time when Baltimore lacks affordable housing.

“With a vision to address these critical issues, La Cité’s investment from Chairman Jakes has placed La Cité in a position to be one of the torchbearers for transformative initiatives in this region,” the company said.

Under a 2006 land disposition deal between the city and La Cité, the developer planned to build an array of mixed-use buildings to attract young, white-collar workers across nearly33 acres in Poppleton while the city took on acquiring more than 500 properties, relocating residents and compensating business owners and demolishing buildings. La Cité says its “Center/West” project is planned to include a mix of office space, hotels, retail and at least 1,700 housing units, both rentals and owned, including 321 rowhouses.

But La Cité still has not completed the redevelopment’s first phase in one of the city’s oldest Black neighborhoods. The city tried to cancel the deal in 2012 after six years passed with nothing built, but La Cité sued in federal court and won.

The Black-owned master developer has built two mixed-use apartment buildings since, saying it invested more than $102 million in them. While the apartments have faced problems, La Cité said the market rate and affordable rentals have helped boost area property values and contributed to a 40% reduction in area crime. It said it’s now building a senior housing apartment building at Schroeder and Saratoga streets.

In August, the Housing Authority of Baltimore City agreed to pay La Cité $550,000 for the rights to develop three abandoned properties along West Saratoga Street as part of the Poe Homes public housing redevelopment project.

Dan Bythewood, La Cité’s president and co-founder, said Jakes’ investment comes at “a time of significant momentum for the company.”

Jakes, also a Christian preacher and senior paster of non-denominational megachurch The Potter’s House in Dallas, runs his own development company, T.D. Jakes Real Estate Ventures.

He said he views his investment in La Cité as “not just about housing; it’s about creating opportunities, empowering families, and leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come.”

 

 

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