We celebrated six years of Dallas Catalyst Project: Forest District on Saturday, January 27 as our 2023 Young Guns and Associate Leadership Council (ALC) teams cut the ribbon on their projects alongside the initiative’s partner organizations and our neighbors in the community.
TREC Community Investors launched the Dallas Catalyst Project (DCP) initiative in 2017 to focus The Real Estate Council’s philanthropic resources on a single, historically underserved community. Following a year-long selection process, TREC Community investors partnered with Cornerstone Baptist Church, St. Philip’s School and Community Center, and Forest Forward beginning in 2018 to revitalize the Forest District neighborhood near Fair Park.
The festivities began within one of the retail sites at 1632 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard – itself the location of an ongoing Dallas Catalyst Project renovation – with food trucks, a DJ, and walking poster gallery showcasing the 22 completed Forest District projects, followed by remarks from TREC Chairman Mike Geisler, who chaired Dallas Catalyst Project: Forest District; TREC Community Investors Chair Rick Perdue; and officials from Cornerstone, St. Philip’s, and Forest Forward.
Guests were then invited to attend the Young Guns’ ribbon-cutting ceremony at The Hub on MLK, located at 1612 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and the ALC class ribbon-cutting at the Royal Oak Apartments at 2806 Holmes Street.
Initially, TREC Community Investors committed $1 million over three years toward catalytic real estate projects that promoted equitable development, improved the quality of life for Forest District residents, increased job preparedness and wealth creation opportunities, enhanced public safety and outdated infrastructure, and supported mixed-income and affordable housing.
Many of the projects addressed specific community needs like affordable transportation (We-Cycle Resource Center), the first neighborhood laundromat in decades (Cornerstone Community Laundromat), food insecurity (the MLK Food Park, Southpoint Community Market, and South Dallas Cloud Kitchen), and improved public gathering spaces and educational facilities (We Creation Innovation Center, Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Museum and Learning Center, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Arts Academy), among others.
Throughout Dallas Catalyst Project: Forest District, that investment grew to more than $3 million from TREC Community Investors – plus $1.2 million in pro bono professional services from TREC members and their companies and more than 6,000 volunteer hours – and an additional $144 million into the community from outside sources.
This year, the Dallas Catalyst Project will continue in the Mill City neighborhood.
For their annual project, the Young Guns worked with St. Philip’s to renovate a former liquor store building into a community engagement center, pop-up space, and respite site for patrolling Dallas police officers. Led by co-project managers Josh Tellifero (Brasfield & Gorrie) and Matthew McManigle (Balfour Beatty Construction), the renovated site provides an additional public community gathering space and is expected to enhance public safety in the neighborhood.
You can learn more about the 2023 Young Guns Community Investors Project here.
Through its project, the 2023 ALC class furthered the Dallas Catalyst Project’s commitment to improving Forest District housing without displacing residents (previous projects include upgrades to The Grace at Holmes as well as The Harmony and The Crossing quadplexes). The ALC class partnered with Cornerstone to overhaul security measures at the Royal Oak Apartments, which had previously faced violence and drug activity. Led by project co-managers Amber Ferrell (Balfour Beatty Construction) and Matt Ashbaugh (Bandera Ventures), the class built new fencing, upgraded window units, installed new security and safety measures throughout the complex and 16 one-bedroom units, and upgraded the outdoor gathering space with a new pergola, picnic area, and grill.
You can learn more about the 2023 ALC Project here.