In The Press

Atlanta’s West End Welcoming Opportunity Zone Investors to the Neighborhood

Von is now in the process of acquiring the West End Mall and working with the community to plan a $400 million, multi-year, multi-phase overhaul into a walkable mixed-use development with retail, cultural, offices, residential spaces and a hotel. His business partner on the project is Ryan Gravel, the original visionary behind the Atlanta BeltLine. While each brings key connections and expertise to the project, neither has ever led a real estate development deal before. They’re jumping off together into the deep end of the economic development pool, and they’re expecting to get a boost from Opportunity Zones — the new investor tax break intended to encourage new investment in economically distressed areas. “The only thing I wish Opportunity Zones had was some sort of inclusion mindset like airport and state contracts have,” Von says. “Without that being mandated, we’re reverse-engineering that.”

SOURCE: Next City

The People Holding The Purse Strings In Real Estate Have Made Social Impact A Top Priority

“If I was looking to take on a new tenancy in a building, I would want to know what does the landlord offer the employees, what are the community links they have in place, what kind of a landlord am I investing in?” Google DeepMind Central Support Manager Emma Galal told the audience at Bisnow’s Office leasing and Development event in September… “If you were to ask any business what their biggest challenge is at the moment, they would say diversity and inclusion, and making the most inclusive office you can,” she said.

SOURCE: BisNow

The Beltline Guy, 20 years after a darn good term paper

His story is now Atlanta folklore, how a young, aspirational fellow with a simple yet outlandish idea could engender such change. Twenty years ago this month, Gravel turned in his thesis, which proposed that a loop of 22 miles of mostly abandoned rail lines be repurposed as transit lines connecting neighborhoods.

SOURCE: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

First look: $350 million mixed-use district planned for Mall at West End

New details are emerging about a $350 million redevelopment planned for the Mall at West End, a project envisioned by a team that includes Atlanta Beltline architect Ryan Gravel. The city’s economic development agency Invest Atlanta on Thursday approved a $2 million predevelopment loan for the 12.5-acre project.

SOURCE: Atlanta Business Chronicle

Developers plan $350M upgrade to West End Mall

The Mall West End was built in 1971 and was once the place to shop for Atlanta’s African American middle class. The mall is now often overlooked as a shopping destination. Donray Von and Ryan Gravel want to change that. “I remember Peppermint Records, I remember the ice cream store, I remember Cherry’s…” said investor and developer Donray Von.

Invest Atlanta is now partnering with Von and Gravel’s development firm, Elevator City Partners. Invest Atlanta has approved a $2 million pre-development loan for the project.

SOURCE: CBS Channel 46

Atlanta receives $1 million to guide investment in distressed areas

On Wednesday, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the Rockefeller Foundation announced a partnership to help encourage socially conscious investment in Atlanta’s 26 opportunity zone neighborhoods, and to reduce the risk of displacement of longtime residents and businesses. A significant part of the partnership is a $1 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.

SOURCE: AJC

Under-The-Radar Investors in the Atlanta Startup Ecosystem

Donray spent his first act building a successful career in the music industry, managing artists such as The Roots, Cody Chestnutt, and Outkast. Donray’s most recent venture through his recently founded Elevator City Partners is the redevelopment of West End Mall with co-founding partner, Ryan Gravel.

SOURCE: Medium

SBA Opportunity Zones in Metro Atlanta

One of the first significant projects beginning to take shape is a revitalization of the aging Mall West End. … If projects like Gravel and Von’s are successful over the long-term, then it could be a model for others who want to invest in distressed locations in the city.

SOURCE: Atlanta Small Business Network

NPR/Closer Look: Local Developers Talk Proposed West End Mall Project

Closer Look’s Rose Scott recently visited the West End Mall to hear from developers Ryan Gravel and Donray Von, who have proposed a multimillion-dollar plan to redevelop the area with restaurants, storefronts and office space. Gravel, who is also known as the visionary for the BeltLine project, and Von, an investor, say their goal is to develop the area responsibly and with the neighborhood in mind. We learn more about the specifics of their plan.

SOURCE: WABE 90.1 - Atlanta's NPR Station

Don Peebles is launching $500M fund for emerging minority and women developers

For minorities and female developers, “access to capital has been the biggest challenge,” said Peebles, who has been an outspoken advocate for diversity in the industry. In addition to supplying capital, Peebles said his company will look at ways to support the emerging developers. Through co-developing or partnerships, he hopes the fund will “help mitigate risk and help them grow quicker.”

SOURCE: The Real Deal