By JON CRONIN
Fundrise, is a Washington D.C.-based revolutionary real estate crowd funding investment firm that allows the everyday man to invest as little as $1,000 in commercial projects throughout the nation and just funded a $1.29 million project in Long Island City.
“Normally people don’t get to invest in commercial real estate,” said Fundrise CEO Ben Miller.
He noted that allowing people to invest through projects on the Fundrise website they were able to cut cost ten-fold.
“Long Island City has been on fire,” said Miller, “We’re happy to be part of that growth,” Miller said of their LIC condo project on Vernon Boulevard between 44th Avenue and 44th Street.
Currently Fundrise has nine projects in Brooklyn, two are in Manhattan; one at Three World Trade Center and the other one in Harlem.
Miller said that about a year ago they began opening up windows online where people could invest. He’s happy to report that when they open one now they raise about $150,000 a minute for each project. The windows are open about midweek for about 20 to 30 minutes until the necessary funding for the project is achieved.
In the past few years the company has grown from the initial four of Ben Miller, Dan Miller, Brandon Jenkins, and Kenny Shin to 29 employees.
“We’ve democratized investing for everybody,” Miller said.
He boasted that it can “outperform every investment you make.”
He said the average investment is $5,000.
Benjamin Ezrick, a Manhattan resident who works in Marketing, said he’s happy to invest with Fundrise because, “Their platform is terrific,” and, “I’m a fan of making money.”
Ezrick said he is pleased with the 10 percent annual yield.
Jared Rodriguez, a Queens resident and investor in the LIC project, said, “As a young professional in real estate, with little working capital, and student debt. Fundrise is an ultra exciting investment opportunity. I have been waiting anxiously for years while the federal government dithered on relaxing investment rules that made the e-REIT possible. The concept of crowdfunding for real estate and other projects is not new, yet it represents a massive opportunity to flatten the playing field for middle class Americans that typically do not have access to this sort of investment vehicle. This may be one of the most unrecognized positive results of President Obama’s legacy.”
He said he enjoys the project concepts of “mixed-use, urban infill development in small cities and downtowns is the key to restoring this country as an urban nation.”
He believes, “Nearly a century of disinvestment promoted by misguided policies and social movements took a major toll on our cities and downtowns. Finally, there is a tool available that assists restoration of urban financial ecosystems that once existed, which allowed this country to become the industrial powerhouse it was. This tool is investment platforms like Fundrise.”
Rodriguez said he looks forward to the federal government relaxing “rules allowing non-accredited investors to invest in specific development projects in their own community. This is necessary to overcome the NIMBY (not in my backyard) social hurdles that prevent affordable housing and downtown development, causing housing prices to skyrocket and downtown economies to struggle. By engaging more Americans in the urban development process, we can better foster a social environment that encourages good development, creating better community and economic ties across a now socioeconomically stratified landscape.”
Reach Reporter Jon Cronin at (718) 357-7400 x125, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonathanSCronin