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commercial real estate

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These Two Black Owned Real Estate Firms Have Closed over $60M in Deals Together

National Standard Abstract  (NSA) and CB Emmanuel Realty are two Black Owned Real Estate Firms that have closed over $60 million in transactions together.

NSA is a full-service title agency that has expertise in residential and commercial real estate transactions. CB Emmanuel Realty is a real estate developer and investor of Affordable Housing properties.

On December 12th, 2020 National Standard Abstract provided title insurance for a $32 Million deal involving CB Emmanuel Realty. This transaction involved the preservation of Calvary Baptist Senior Housing in Jamaica Queens NY.

This is not the first time these companies have collaborated on deals of this size. In August of 2020, they closed another $30 million affordable housing transaction.

In this interview, Osei Rubie, CEO of NSA, and Chris Bramwell, CEO of CBE, discuss why they decided to join forces. They also discuss the importance of networking and building relationships.

Both men credit much of their success to their fathers and are now passing lessons learned to their children. Osei and Chris also explain how and why they are giving back to the community.

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Tony O. Lawson


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One of the Largest Black Owned Title Insurance Companies Closes $30 Million Dollar Affordable Housing Deal and Continues to Give Back to The Community

It isn’t often that you hear about large businesses that genuinely care about the community in which they operate, but this case is different.

As New York City is slowly reopening while spurring affordable housing to meet the growing demand post-pandemic, National Standard Abstract (NSA) closed a $30 million real estate transaction deal to develop a new affordable housing project in Brooklyn.

NSA is a title insurance agency owned by father-son duo, Osei and Nadir Rubie, widely-renowned as industry leaders after closing over $1 billion in commercial and residential real estate transactions in less than five years.

“In our five-plus years of operation, a common question posed to us is ‘how do we engage National Standard Abstract to provide title insurance for our project or transaction?’ As an MBE NYC Certified firm, our credentials are inclusive of City-funded commercial real estate projects as well as market-rate development projects,” said Nadir Rubie, partner, National Standard Abstract.

The Deal

Vacant city-owned land situated in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn will now become a seven-story residential building with 71 units. The nearly 47,000 sq. ft. structure will include 55 studios, 14 one-bedroom, and 2 two-bedroom apartments.

The amenities include a reception desk and mailroom; a multipurpose room; offices for supportive services, tenant and bike storage in the cellar; a landscaped garden in the rear yard; and a green roof with solar panels.

Black Owned Title Insurance

Backstory

CB Emmanuel Realty LLC is a real estate development company focused on acquiring and revitalizing investment-grade properties in New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area. With a focus on dynamic urban neighborhoods, CB Emmanuel Realty LLC develops ground-up market-rate and affordable apartments through the preservation and upgrading of historic, irreplaceable assets.

In 2015, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) issued a Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Building Opportunity Request for Proposals.

Two years later, CB Emmanuel Realty, LLC and Services for the Underserved received the award to jointly oversee development of the site into housing for formerly homeless individuals with disabilities.

The HPD Supportive Housing Loan Program (SHLP) has underwritten the project. This designation is pivotal in strengthening Black communities by ensuring every dollar invested continues to circulate amongst Black-owned businesses.

Black Owned Title Insurance
Osei Rubie, Christopher Bramwelll and Nadir Rubie

Giving back

Following the announcement, CB Emmanuel Realty, LLC chose National Standard Abstract who has committed a portion of every real estate transaction to support the community in which they do business.

“It is our responsibility to provide opportunities for other minority-owned firms that we know engage, inspire, and empower people of African descent in the community. National Standard Abstract (NSA) has demonstrated this philosophy in action after every transaction they complete. For that reason, we hire NSA to provide title insurance for all of our real estate transactions,” said Christopher Bramwell, managing member, CB Emmanuel Realty, LLC.

“As New Yorkers, we overcame many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to persevere despite our new normal. I am proud that National Standard Abstract remains an integral partner during this critical time to build one community at a time. I look forward to helping with the economic resurgence through our leadership in title insurance and our philanthropic arm, the Osei Rubie Charitable Fund,” said Osei Rubie, president and founder of National Standard Abstract.

To date, via the Osei Rubie Charitable Fund,  $100,000 has been awarded in less than a year to fifteen organizations and counting that advance black culture, excellence, and generational wealth.

Tony O. Lawson


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This Black Owned Commercial Real Estate Firm Has Done Over $15 Billion in Transactions

T. Dallas Smith & Company is a Black owned commercial real estate services firm that specializes in Tenant and Buyer representation services for corporate users of office, industrial, and land.

The firm is Atlanta based, with offices in Dallas, TX, Los Angeles, CA and Trenton, NJ and projects across the country.

black owned commercial real estate
T. Dallas Smith – Principal, Founder & CEO

The members of the firm, in their combined CRE experience, have managed over $15 billion in transactions.

Part of that team is Cedric Michael, Principal and Vice President of T. Dallas Smith & Company. We caught up with Cedric to learn more about him and about the firm.

black owned commercial real estate
Cedric Matheny – Principal, VP

How did you get involved in real estate and why?

I was in high school having an obligatory meeting with my guidance counselor who had just asked me what I wanted to do with my life when his cellphone rang.

In the few minutes it took him to respond to the call, he closed a residential real estate deal worth more than some people bring home in a week. And real estate was his weekend gig.

My mind immediately started racing. If he could operate like that from a phone it meant flexibility. If he could close deals in a day it meant income. However, I knew I didn’t want to work weekends, so residential real estate was out for me.

But I thought, even at that age, I could be successful with commercial real estate Monday-Friday and in a way that did not plant me at a desk 40+ hours a week. I was sold and started mapping my plan to accomplish that goal immediately!

How were you affected by the 2008 financial crash and how did you overcome it?

Prior to that time, my life was G-O-O-D! I had just graduated from college with a Finance and Real Estate degree. While in college, I was working at Bank of America and was named the #1 Small Business Banker in the country. Still in college, I was promoted to Assistant Client Manager. I had my career path laid out and owned a little real estate myself.

The crash was truly a crash for me because the bottom fell out! Two weeks after graduation, I got laid off. Quickly, all of my investments went away. I was evicted from my apartment. I had to take a step back to an old job and move back into my dad’s basement.

It was like a Job experience for me because I lost all of my material possessions but I didn’t lose my faith. At one of my darkest points, a guy who I had only known in circles, Leonte Benton, invited me to hang out.

It was literally the meeting that changed my life. After I shared my story with him, he insisted on introducing me to this new firm he was working with called T. Dallas Smith & Company. I met Dallas and joined the firm a year later after getting my life in order.

Today, Leonte Benton and I are principals and owners of the commercial real estate firm under the leadership of founding principal, T. Dallas Smith.

L to R – Robert Scott (Principal, EVP), Corey Ferguson (Principal, VP), Dexter Warrior (Principal, COO), T. Dallas Smith (Principal, CEO), Leonte Benton (Principal, SVP), Cedric Matheny (Principal, VP)

How is the firm exposing more Black men and women to commercial real estate as a possible career path?

We cover it from almost every angle. We are the largest African American commercial real estate firm in the country focused solely on tenant and buyer representation so it’s in our DNA.

  • In the community, we work with an organization called Next Generation Men and Women teaching them about commercial real estate; showing them how it applies to their lives and being the example of success they need to see.

 

  • Because we can’t hire every minority in search of a career in commercial real estate, we partner with high profile organizations like the Atlanta Commercial Board on initiatives that keep diversity and inclusion on the table and at the table. This way, when young black men and women seek positions outside of T. Dallas Smith & Company, we ensure as many companies and firms as possible know their value and see them as positive additions to their workforce.

 

  • We speak at inner-city schools and universities as often as we are invited.

 

  • We fill our social media platforms with pictures, stories, tips and facts about the commercial real estate industry and our stake in it. 

 

  • And finally, we live the life we talk about when we don’t know who’s looking. The best exposure to any life is a living example of that life.
black owned commercial real estate
TDS High school and college interns

What advice do you have for an aspiring commercial real estate professional?

I would advise them to make sure they understand finance and to master Microsoft Office (specifically Excel). Establish relationships within the commercial real estate industry.

Find a mentor. Most importantly, live like a lion! The lion is our moniker because it’s the leader in the jungle. It knows if it doesn’t hunt, it doesn’t eat.

It’s nimble and quick. It patiently studies the terrain and makes its move at the right time and with the right pride (rarely does it travel alone). It’s bold and brave. Live life courageously, listen to your instincts and go for what you want!

What are some 2019 commercial market trends that you expect to continue through 2020?

Rising rental rates.  Over the last 12 months, we have seen rates in Atlanta increase on average 12 percent. This trend is not isolated only to Atlanta, but across all major markets in the US. Companies are making decisions on how they use space differently.

While the bottom line remains significantly at the top, things like atmosphere, culture and space collaboration are also driving how businesses select spaces in preparation for a majority Millennial workforce.

Where do you see the firm 5 years from now?

The firm started from humble beginnings and has been a growing firm since. We have negotiated projects across the country valued at more than $15 billion. I think we will only be limited by our ability to believe in the next five years.

What I would like to see by the year 2024 is our expansion into international real estate, a greater representation of women of color and T. Dallas Smith & Company in the top 10 Commercial Real Estate Companies doing business globally.

Tony O. Lawson

Related: Family Owned Real Estate Business closes $500 million in Transactions in One Year


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This Family Owned Business Closed over $500 Million in Real Estate Deals In One Year

National Standard Abstract is a family-owned title insurance company located in Floral Park, NY. In 2018 they closed more than $500 million in commercial real estate transactions and have since closed over $1billion in transactions!

In June 2018, NSA closed a total of $432 million in faith-based and affordable-housing development transactions. The non-faith-based deals include the $189 million Archer Green in Jamaica, Queens; the $47 million Regina Pacis Housing in Gravesend, Brooklyn; and a $42 million project in Harlem.

We spoke with NSA founder and CEO, Osei Rubie to learn more about him, his background and future plans.

family owned
Osei Rubie

What led you to get involved in the title insurance industry?

14 years ago, I was refinancing my personal residence and once I realized that title insurance was required; I did not want to pay for this cost, perceiving it as optional. The bank attorney then explained that this was a mandatory cost that the bank required to confirm that they were no current defects in title, violations, liens, or outstanding judgments.

I then asked the bank attorney, who happened to be a friend of mine, if he had a business relationship with the title insurance company; which led to him setting up a meeting for me to speak with them after the closing. After meeting with the company, I learned that they were not only publicly traded, but the largest underwriter of title insurance in the country.

At the time I was working with a pharmaceutical company, so when a permanent position to begin as a sales executive 2 weeks after we met was offered, I accepted thus beginning my career in the title insurance industry.

NSA focuses on faith-based affordable housing development projects. Why did you decide to focus on this niche?

New York City’s independent churches represent a significant portion of land ownership. As a result of Mayor de Blasio’s housing initiative, developers are constantly looking for new opportunities to create development projects, leading to the partnering of the two entities to create a faith-based affordable housing market.

This opportunity allowed us at National Standard Abstract to achieve our business mission in conjunction with our social mission.  Here at National Standard Abstract, we strive to identify new sources of transactions to provide title insurance; as well as focusing on underdeveloped communities and advancing the growth of affordable housing.

It has been said that it takes the same amount of time to close a $100,000 deal as it does a $1M deal. Would you agree or not? 

The layered complexities of real estate transactions vary dependent upon the sector of real estate the specific transaction falls under, (ie: residential, commercial, affordable housing, faith-based development, multi-state transactions). There have been times where the amount of effort for a transaction under $500,000 may resemble a multi-million-dollar transaction.

But normally, no I do not find it commonplace that a multi-million-dollar transaction and a $100,000 residential transaction, require the same amount of problem-solving and transaction focus.

Your father is an entrepreneur. Briefly describe his influence on your professional life.

My grandfather (Costa Rican), as well as my mother and father, were all entrepreneurs, in addition to numerous other family members. We lived in Liberia, West Africa for several years during my childhood, during which my mother and father started multiple businesses that included, 3 clothing retail stores for men and women, a clothing manufacturing facility for school and military uniforms, as well as a restaurant.

Upon our return to the United States, my parents were driven by the void of representation for black children within the toy industry. The passion to fill this void gave birth to one of the first mass-produced black toy lines in the country, Huggy Bean Doll. This product was in all major retailers on a national basis that sold toys (Toys R US, Walmart, Kmart, Target, etc.).

I was directly involved in this process at the end of my high-school career, by actively presenting new toy product lines to these retailers. This intense exposure to entrepreneurship both domestically and internationally was the ultimate training ground.

family owned
Osei Rubie (right), founder and CEO of NSA and his son, Nadir Rubie.

In the past 5 years, what new belief, behavior or habit has most improved your life?

The Power of Faith and Overcoming Doubt.

When I started in title insurance, they were many comments made to me that it was unlikely that I would be able to succeed as an entrepreneur in title insurance. So much so that people would tell me that my aspirations of owning my own firm were time not well spent.

In October of 2017 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. This potentially terminal illness also has another layer of complexity in that there has been a significant advancement in technologically for this procedure (laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (LRP)). In the past, 10-12 years ago, this procedure could have a variety of results including impotence, but with new laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, this risk has been substantially minimized.

I had the surgery February of this year and when first diagnosed I was told that because of my aggressive and intense schedule with my business I would need to adjust my schedule accordingly and to expect my business revenue and sales goals to be reduced. Mental and physical conditioning has always been a major part of my business and life prep toolbox.

I’m happy to say that I defeated cancer this year making a complete recovery; while simultaneously having my best year in title insurance in my 14-year career.

Where do you see this business in 5 years?

Our goal within the next 5 years is to be the premier provider of title insurance nationally. We have provided title insurance for 2 multi-million-dollar commercial transactions in the state of New Jersey since we have begun in 2015, one for $15 million and the other for $35 million.

Our pipeline is filled with new out of state multi-million-dollar commercial transactions. Our focus on continuing to strengthen our position of leadership in the state of New York on multi-million-dollar commercial transactions will grow from this year’s banner accomplishment of over $600 million dollars closed and $274 million in Faith-Based development

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

First, assemble an informal team and then transition to a formal advisory team, including but not limited to legal, accounting, financing, and expert or experts within the field that you have an interest in.

By surrounding yourself with these individuals to give feedback and technical instruction on processes and procedures in your industry of interest, you can maximize your ability to bypass traditional problems and errors in a startup environment, and also maximize your ability to accomplish “stretch goals” in a short period of time.

 

-Tony O. Lawson

Related: This Black Owned Commercial Real Estate Firm Has Done Over $15 Billion in Transactions


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Black Real Estate Businesses & Professionals

From the beginning of recorded time, real estate or land and property ownership has been responsible for the creation of many fortunes. Here are some Black real estate business owners and professionals who are at the top of their game.

Black Real Estate Business Owners & Professionals

Ayesha Selden (Philadelphia, PA) is a self-made millionaire who has amassed a real estate portfolio of 0ver 30 properties and 41 units. She is also an author, public speaker, and coach.

black real estate

Cedric Matheny (Atlanta, GA) is Principal and Vice at President T.Dallas Smith & Company. He specializes in Tenant and Buyer representation services for corporate users of office, industrial, retail, and land. He also advises clients on-site selection, real estate investment, and real estate development.

black real estate

Eze Okwodu (DMV area) With over fifteen years of experience as a real estate investor, Eze is committed to helping his clients find their dream properties that not only meet their needs but are sound financial investments.

black real estate

Daniel D. Thomas (Bridgeport, CT) Since starting his career at the age of 19. By the age of 23, he became one of the youngest Real-Estate Brokers in the country to open his own firm Daniel D. Thomas Real-Estate.

black owned real estate

Kofi Nartey is the founder of Society Real Estate & Development. A leading authority on luxury real estate, he is the go-to broker for celebrities, prominent sports figures, and affluent clientele around the globe.

C. David Moody (Lithonia, GA)  is the President and Chief Executive Officer of C.D. Moody Construction Company, Inc., one of the largest Black-owned construction firms in the U.S.

black owned construction company

G. Lamont Blackstone (Mount Vernon, NY) is the principal of G. L. Blackstone & Associates LLC, a commercial real estate consulting firm specializing in urban markets.

Lisa Phillips (Arlington, VA) is the founder of Affordable Real Estate Investments. She is also a real estate investor who is passionate about teaching others how to “cash in on working-class neighborhoods for higher profits.”

black real estate

Scottie Smith (Houston, TX) is the Managing Broker at Scottie Smith II & Associates. Mr. Smith specializes in sales, investments, property analysis, and valuation of multifamily and single-family properties in Texas.

black real estate

Roy Donahue “Don” Peebles (Washington D.C.) is the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Peebles Corporation, the largest African American-owned real estate development and ownership company in the US.

black real estate

 

Harrison Beacher (Washington, D.C) has dealt with and successfully helped close every kind of deal from multi-million dollar sales, to foreclosures, short sales, co-ops,estate sales, first-time buyers, Down payment assistance program deals, investors, rentals, and everything in between.

Adenah Bayoh ( Irvington, NJ) is the founder and CEO of Adenah Bayoh and Companies, a real estate development portfolio with over $250 million dollars in urban redevelopment projects.

black real estate

Quintin E. Primo III (Chicago, IL) is the co-founder and CEO of Capri Capital Partners, a real estate investment firm specializing in mezzanine investments in real estate private and publicly held companies.

Kenneth H. Fearn (Los Angeles, CA) is Founder and Managing Partner of Integrated Capital LLC, a leading hotel-focused, private real estate advisory and investment firm. 

mTkalla (pronounced T’kalla) Keaton (New York, NY) has over twenty-five years of experience managing properties in Brownstone Brooklyn.

Egypt Sherrod (Atlanta, GA) is an award winning Realtor ® and CEO of The Egypt Sherrod Real Estate Group. Egypt’s daily business activities include counseling modest first-time home buyers to quarterbacking the listing/marketing of homes owned by corporate leaders, celebrities, physicians and investors throughout Atlanta.

Brendan Wright (Atlanta,GA) is a realtor with Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty and a Certified Negotiation Expert. In 2013, Brendan was recognized as Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty’s youngest Multi-Million Dollar Sales Club member.

Michael Russell (Atlanta, GA) is the CEO of H.J. Russell & Company, a vertically integrated service provider specializing in real estate development, construction, program management, and property management. Michael founded the company in 1952 and led it for 50 years.

Victor MacFarlane (San Francisco, CA) is chairman and chief executive officer of MacFarlane Partners, which he founded in 1987 to provide real estate investment management services to institutional investors.

Kenneth Bacon (Bethesda, MD) is Co-founder and Managing Partner of RailField Partners. Prior to forming RailField, Ken spent 19 years at Fannie Mae, most recently as the Executive Vice President and Head of the Multifamily Business.

Sundra Ryce (Buffalo, NY) is the President and CEO of SLR Contracting & Service Company, Inc. SLRoffers commercial general construction, construction management, and design-build services for new construction and renovation projects, schools, nuclear facilities, and government projects.

 

-Tony O. Lawson

If you would like to add your business to this list (or another) SUBMIT HERE.


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