A plan by a University of Baltimore graduate student to reinvest in the rejuvenation of Baltimore's historic Harlem Park was the winning entry in UBalt's second annual "Pitch for a Million" real estate development competition, held in September 2020 as an online event and witnessed by dozens of UBalt students and alumni, as well as representatives from the metropolitan area's real-estate development community. The competition, which challenges participants to envision the development of residential, commercial, green space and more, all within the City of Baltimore, features the chance for up to $1 million in Line of Credit to start the project. It is sponsored by M&T Bank, Howard Bank and the UBalt Real Estate and Economic Development Program Advisory Board, in partnership with Baltimore Community Lending.
Matthew H. King, a second-year student in the UBalt College of Public Affairs' Masters in Nonprofit Management and Social Entrepreneurship program, submitted a proposal entitled the "Progression Redevelopment Plan," a multi-phase community reinvestment project that King says is designed to bring new residential and commercial properties to Harlem Park and other historically underfunded communities in Baltimore.
"Being a Harlem Park resident for over 10 years, I saw the neglect and historic disinvestment that exists in my community," King wrote in his proposal to the "Pitch for a Million" judges. "I decided to act by founding the Harlem Park Community Development Corporation and going back to academia to pursue a second master's degree in Nonprofit Management & Social Entrepreneurship. While attending the University of Baltimore, I was selected to participate in the REED [Real Estate and Economic Development] Fellow Pitch Program for 2020. During my time in the program, I learned a lot about the various phases of real estate development. My pitch for the Progression Development Plan will result in increased property values and tax revenues as well as decreased numbers of vacant buildings and poverty levels."
Seema Iyer, director of UBalt's REED program and co-creator of the competition, said King's entry, which included a video about the Harlem Park community, had all the makings of an aspirational, yet well-grounded proposal that could make a big difference in a worthy city neighborhood.
"Matthew's and all of the Fellows' pitches demonstrated how thoughtful real estate proposals can unlock the untapped potential we have in our neighborhoods," Iyer said. "They were community-oriented and business-minded, which is what the future of real estate development will be all about."
All of the "Pitch for a Million" competitors are either UBalt students or alumni. They enter as UBalt Real Estate Fellows, and they each receive a stipend of $1,500 for the successful completion of their pitch. This year, the entrants also received more than $1,200 worth of design services from the Neighborhood Design Center to help visualize their ideas.
The other 2020 finalists were:
- A team consisting of Trina DuBose and lson Nash created Baltimore Seed Properties as a non-profit real estate development organization based in Baltimore, dedicated to building and redeveloping low-to-moderate energy efficient and net zero ready homes in the Greater Govans area.
- Mikita Thompson pitched a method of manufactured-home construction, to accomplish project speed, durability, environmental-sustainability, and cost-reduction benefits, to provide safe and sanitary affordable homes to low- and moderate-income families in the Oliver neighborhood.
Watch the full video from the Sept. 17,2020 event.
The 2020 "Pitch for a Million" Judges
- Robert A. Altieri, Chief Operating Officer, Baltimore Community Lending
- John DeZinno, Sr., Vice President, Howard Bank
- Barbara Simmons, Group Vice President, M&T Bank
The 2020 Mentors
- Sean Russell, Baltimore Community Lending
- Bob Pipik, Baltimore City Department of Housing
- Sophie Morley and Katryna Carter, Neighborhood Design Center
- Tim Pula, Beatty Development
- Vidushani Jayalal, York Road Partnership
- Mark Washington, Coldstream Montebello
- Wendi Redfern, Rebuild Metro
- Kari Synder, SECDC
- Doug McCoach, Morris & Ritchie Associates
- Jeff Ratnow, Site Insight
- Brad Shapiro, Jabberfive
- Andrew Michael and Andy Bolton, M&T Bank
- Bob Aydukovic, President, Maryland Center for Construction Education & Innovation
- Matthew Bolyard, Southway Builders
- Robert W. Gehrman, BCT Architects
- Jack DeBeir, Small Developers Collective
- Annie Milli, Live Baltimore