Bond community welcomes The Flats

Property sign at The Flats. Photo courtesy: Jarren Smith

The once abandoned, newly renovated housing property The Flats is now open.

With Tuesday’s grand opening of The Flats, a call for community reinvestment and redevelopment was birthed.

Located at 539 Palm Beach St. near Main Street, the housing property is in the south-side Bond community that includes Florida A&M University.

Its renovation cannot only help boost the property value, but it has the potential to boost the Black community’s wealth as a whole.

Christopher Daniels, a former political science professor at FAMU, is the owner of The Flats.

“This is a community thing and it’s a bigger picture than just me or my projects,” Daniels said. “I want everyone to win because ultimately, no one is going to win if the community loses.”

The New Era Investment CEO spoke adamantly about the wealth gap being connected to real estate and how investing in the community can bridge that gap.

“It’s the land that’s underneath and not the building that’s above so if the community suffers and the land is not prosperous within the community, then you won’t see a long-time return on your investment,” Daniels said. “That’s why there’s such a wealth gap in this country because with the neighborhoods that we’re in, there hasn’t been enough investment.”

Talethia Edwards, president of the Greater Bond Neighborhood Association, reinforced Daniels’ point about there being a need for investment in the community in order for prosperity to follow.

“A couple of the priorities in our neighborhood are not only affordable rental housing, but also home ownership,” she said. “Currently, we have about a 29 percent home ownership rate and we are looking for those who want to reinvest and live in this community so that we can see that the whole community is actually prospering.”

Karlus Henry, a representative of Community Lift Institute, and project partner with Daniels, spoke on the importance of taking initiative when developing and investing in the Black community.

“People want to see our communities redeveloped,” Henry said. “They want to see capital flowing back into our communities and it’s something that we are doing and taking the initiative ourselves to not wait on somebody on the outside to bring in capital, but bring in our own capital to redevelop and reinvest in our communities.”

Daniels described The Flats as not only a newly opened housing property, but a starting point that symbolizes redevelopment and growth in the community, as well as Black excellence.