A first-of-its-kind commercial kitchen targeted at supporting local entrepreneurs in launching and growing their operations opened with a ceremonial ribbon cutting on Friday, August 25 at 2839 S. Ervay Street in The Crossing in South Dallas’ historic Forest District. The new South Dallas Cloud Kitchen is a coordinated partnership between The Real Estate Council’s (TREC) Associate Leadership Council (ALC) Class of 2021, TREC Community Investors (TREC CI), Cornerstone Baptist Church, and the City of Dallas. Monisha Clifton, owner of Moe’s Delights, will speak and provide desserts as part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony. State Rep. Venton Jones and Dallas City Council member Adam Bazaldua will also attend.
South Dallas Cloud Kitchen is part of the Dallas Catalyst Project (DCP), a place-based strategy first launched by TREC CI in the Forest District in 2017 in partnership with anchor community organizations, St. Philips School and Community Center, Cornerstone Baptist Church and Forest Forward. Over the past six years, TREC CI has invested $3 million and hundreds of thousands of dollars of in-kind and pro bono project resources into community projects that include the Cornerstone Community Laundromat and Southpoint Community Market, both of which are also located at The Crossing of with the South Dallas Cloud Kitchen.
The new commercial kitchen also marks a long tradition of community investment from one of TREC’s signature career development programs, ALC, which focuses on growing future commercial real estate leaders and since its founding has helped produce some of Dallas’ most notable industry trailblazers. The program includes monthly education classes, networking opportunities and a strong commitment to civic responsibility through real estate-related community service in the city’s most underserved neighborhoods.
“Implementing TREC’s place-based community strategy has allowed several ALC classes to revitalize an entire section of the Forest District that now offers vital, life-changing services, from the laundromat and fresh market to our group’s work on the new South Dallas Cloud Kitchen that will provide a space for small, food-based businesses to thrive,” said Maximillian Schwartzstein, vice president at Providential Realty Partners and ALC Class of 2021 project manager.
Estrella Carter, development manager at Granite Properties and ALC Class of 2021 project manager, added, “Our ALC class was honored to dedicate our time and resources and work alongside Cornerstone Baptist Church to deliver a project that will have a lasting, positive impact on the neighborhood and all Dallas residents.”
By lowering the overall costs associated with starting a small business, South Dallas Cloud Kitchen will provide a sustainable business model offering start-up, food-related companies access to resources while eliminating barriers that traditionally prevent local entrepreneurs from realizing their goals. Both short- and long-term tenants of the new kitchen will enjoy reduced overhead through a lower rental fee that will contribute to the kitchen’s utilities, property taxes and other operational costs of the space.
South Dallas Cloud Kitchen will be professionally managed and run by residents of the Forest District, allowing business owners to dedicate their time to business development and food preparation without being sidelined by health inspections, equipment repair costs, security and insurance. All employees will receive hands-on training on the kitchen’s operations and must complete a food safety certification program.
Prior to securing space in South Dallas Cloud Kitchen, all renters will be required to obtain food safety and food handler certifications and are encouraged to have a food manager certification as well. Maximizing flexibility, the space can be used by multiple businesses per day, allowing for investment in South Dallas while also catering to the larger Dallas community.
“Over the past six years, the DCP has allowed us to purposefully work with our partners to invest in and revitalize the Forest District block by block to develop valuable community resources and pave the way for long-term neighborhood success,” said Felicia Pierson, senior director of community investment for TREC CI. “The work of the ALC Class of 2021 and Cornerstone Baptist Church on the South Dallas Cloud Kitchen is an excellent example how working together in partnership not only creates new businesses and job opportunities but also an increased sense of pride in the community.”
We caught up with ALC class member and cloud kitchen project manager Estrella Carter on TRECcast. Listen below or wherever you download podcasts.