After a decade working in the underbelly of the Detroit commercial real estate market, here’s what I have come to understand: we have built a multi-trillion-dollar industry based on flawed thinking; and this thinking is hollowing out the souls of our communities. As technology and data have transformed real estate into a globally connected marketplace, it has exposed a system failure that has resulted in runaway rents, high property values, and a lack of local property ownership. This system has spread like a virus throughout our communities and is contributing to the anxiety and instability that are endemic to American…


The Sweet Spot is a powerful yet ephemeral phase of the real estate market cycle. It is the small window of time during a market cycle when the incentive structure for building owners is aligned with the long-term interests of a neighborhood. Investors can make more over the long-term by focusing on improving the neighborhood rather than maximizing short-term profits. During the Sweet Spot impactful change and community development can result in outsized profits.

The Sweet Spot of real estate ownership is critical to the formation of small businesses, developing local supply chains, and achieving long-term affordability of a neighborhood…


The food chain in a business ecosystem provides the same function as it does in a natural ecosystem on the planet: maintaining balance. And, in order for a food chain to maintain balance it must have adequate species diversity. This is just as true on the African Serengeti as it is in the Detroit real estate market.

Species diversity refers to the total number of different species present in a given ecosystem. When species are lost, or new species are introduced, it can create an imbalance that causes huge systemic problems. …


Local Real Estate Developer Trying to Get a Bank Loan

Would you prefer for the majority of buildings in your neighborhood to be owned by local landlords who live nearby and are active in your community, or by large, multi-billion investment funds who view your neighborhood as little more than a series of numbers in a spreadsheet? I assume that most people would prefer Option A.

However, an increasing number of properties in this country, both large and small, are owned by groups who see buildings as dollars on a spreadsheet. It’s becoming harder and harder for local landlords to compete with the big funds, and a big part of…


We are generally thinking about real estate investing in the wrong way. We have to start treating buildings more like infrastructure. After all, isn’t real estate the infrastructure of our lives? Infrastructure is defined as any essential service or facility needed to generally support and sustain society. Based on this definition aren’t homes, apartment buildings, office complexes, shopping centers, and agricultural land all examples of infrastructure? Do they not provide food, shelter, and safety in our everyday lives? The most basic human needs in modern day life are inextricably linked to real estate. …


Source: The New York Times Magazine

In many communities around the world rent and housing prices are spiraling out of control, resulting in an affordability crisis for the majority of the population. Why is this happening? One big part of the problem lies with the way the current real estate private equity industry is structured. This industry is hugely powerful.

In fact, at the end of 2018 less than 500 institutional investors owned approximately 84% of the entire global real estate market¹

This means a small number of investors with trillions of dollars in capital control the game. These massive institutional investors have always participated heavily…


The traditional commercial real estate deal

The commercial real estate market dictates the terms by which we live — the affordability of our housing, the nature of our neighborhoods, the success and diversity of our small businesses, and very quality of our lives. But, even though this industry is responsible for providing the spaces where we live, work, and play, most people have no idea how the market is affecting them or how it operates.

In fact, I already had a background in finance and a few years of investing experience at a private equity firm when I stumbled into commercial real estate and it still…


Real Estate Food Chain

Gentrification can be beneficial when it happens gradually, but problematic when it occurs too fast.

Gentrification is a fiercely debated topic. It raises questions of race and class; opportunity and access all tied to the deeply personal place we call home. Gentrification is a word people often throw around as a stand-in for the extremely negative — the whitening of a neighborhood and the displacement of a community — or the extremely positive — well-paying jobs and skyrocketing property values. In fact, gentrification, simply refers to the changes that happen in a neighborhood as new and more affluent residents and…


Downtown Detroit Skyline

A background on what accidentally led me to the world of Detroit real estate. That’s where I discovered the hidden ways this powerful industry profoundly affects our everyday lives.

It was an eye-opener observing the differences in attitude as I moved from San Francisco back to my hometown of Detroit in 2008 to help take care of my ailing parents. I went from a place where failure was embraced and encouraged to one where it was viewed as a mark of shame. People on the west coast seemed to value a bold willingness to take chances and try new things…

Jordan Wolfe

Entrepreneur and active angel investor. Made in Detroit and married to a French woman. A self-professed confused capitalist.

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