Who’s Building Philly: Alexis Miles
This is the first in a series of profiles that will introduce you each month to the people who are actively changing the face of Philadelphia.
NAME: Alexis Miles
TITLE: Founder and owner, The Partnership Project
LOCATION: Center City Philadelphia
WHAT SHE’S DOING: Miles’ goal with her companies is twofold: She would like to revitalize struggling underdeveloped city neighborhoods with new construction while avoiding the negative effects that often accompany such redevelopment. To achieve the latter goal, she seeks to educate neighborhood residents on how they can cut their tax bills and remain in their homes while also encouraging them to become small-scale real estate investors themselves by participating in her projects, thus building wealth.
Her current focus is on the Tioga section of North Philadelphia. “A lot of the community is vacant,” she said. “We want to bring it back to being vibrant like it once was, but I don’t want it to be at the expense of the existing residents.”
The Partnership Project is the main vehicle for the restoration effort. “We currently own about 150,000 square feet of land in Tioga,” she said. “We have about $40 million in development planned for the land.”
The purchases and the development are being paid for by pools of small investors she has organized through the project. “We own the properties free and clear,” she said. “We purchased them with cash.”
“We’re offering a blueprint for financial freedom to break the cycle of poverty and create generational wealth,” she said. So far, she has lined up 100 partners for her projects, and, she said, “98 percent of our partners are young minority entrepreneurs, which is awesome.”
The threshold for investment is deliberately kept low in order to encourage more local residents to buy in: all that’s required is $5,000 to get in the game. Recently, she held a “Black Friday sale” that offered pieces of three vacant parcels for $2,500 a pop.
The educational component of her program works with current residents to educate them about how development affects their property values and ways they can reduce their tax bills and stay in their homes.
She would also like to help those residents maintain and repair their homes so they can realize their full value someday, and is working with the Tioga United community development corporation on that issue, but as of now, that falls outside the scope of her efforts.
(Miles also owns a company called Tax Abatement Today that helps would-be developers receive 10-year tax abatements from the city for their projects.)
The Drexel student has put her studies in hospitality management and construction on hold while she pursues this course. Here she had a good teacher as well: her father ran a construction company and still contracts out projects from his retirement home in Florida. Alexis manages those projects when they get off the ground.
Her ultimate goal is to develop hotels and restaurants that can help revitalize commercial corridors, but for now, she’s starting with bringing a residential neighborhood back to life with an eye towards its commercial revitalization down the road. And having the residents come along for the ride is a large part of her vision.
“I want people to not be intimidated and to invest with the right people,” she said. “I’m confident I’ve found the blueprint, so why not share it with people? I’ve always been passionate about revitalizing communities and neglected neighborhoods. I love all aspects of the industry from acquisition to community planning to design and construction, creating job opportunities, sales and finally, the end result: High-quality units for people to create amazing lifelong memories! I’m motivated by the ‘before & after,’ and it’s humbling to know that we’re capable of being a part of something so big!”
Interested in becoming an investor, in learning how to lower your tax bill so you can remain in your home, or want to keep up with Miles’ developments? You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow Alexis on Instagram.
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