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Bottom Line Conversations: Building a Community-Controlled Real Estate Entity from Scratch

 Adriana Abizadeh of the Kensington Corridor Trust discusses some of the successes and challenges of scaling a community-controlled real estate entity.

March 15, 2023

In a neighborhood known more for being the regional epicenter of the opioid crisis in Philly, the Kensington Corridor Trust formed less than five years ago, and is already up and running with multiple properties in its portfolio, commercial tenants in place and thriving, and its first new construction projects in the works. That’s a lot for a real estate entity designed to ultimately give power to the existing residents of the neighborhood over the development of its main commercial corridor. What have been some of the keys to success so far? How has the trust raised capital for acquisition and what is its ultimate vision to become a self-sustaining, community-controlled real estate entity?

In this conversation, executive director Adriana Abizadeh will give participants a brief history of the Kensington Corridor Trust, an update on its current status, and talk through both its capital raising strategy so far and the model it has worked out to eventually be a self-sustaining entity. The format will be roughly 30 minutes presentation followed by 30 minutes Q&A, moderated by senior economic justice correspondent Oscar Perry Abello.


Oscar Perry Abello, Senior Economic Justice Correspondent, Next City

Oscar Perry Abello covers policies, programs and businesses that seek to address historical disparities in access to jobs, capital and space for economic use in cities. He previously served as Next City’s editor from 2018-2019, and was a Next City Equitable Cities Fellow from 2015- 2016. Since 2011, Abello has covered community development finance, community banking, impact investing, equitable and inclusive economies, affordable housing, fair housing and more. He holds a bachelor’s in economics from Villanova University.


Adriana Abizadeh, Executive Director, Kensington Corridor Trust

With deep interests in public policy Adriana has taken every opportunity to utilize her privileged position as a nonprofit leader in order to speak out for what she believes in and to lift the voices of impacted community members. Immersed in policy initiatives, she has facilitated community collaboration to address the intersectionality between immigration status, housing, poverty, and race.

All of Adriana's professional working experience has been in the nonprofit sector and she is passionate about serving others. Adriana has a BA from Rutgers University in Political Science with a minor in Security Intelligence and Counter Terrorism. She also has an MS in Public Policy from Drexel University.

She has committed herself to serving on several boards that reflect some of her deepest passions: immigration, racial and health equity, and youth development. When Adriana isn’t serving her community, she is at home with her two children and two dogs.

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