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Clean Energy-Powered Affordable Housing Startup in Chicago: 548 Capital LLC

AbbieKnight 0 Ratings 14 Discussions 9 Group posts

Posted by: AbbieKnight

Sustainable Affordable Housing Chicago Solar Renewable Energy

Robert "A.J." Patton and Erica Johnson, childhood friends who grew up in low-income communities, recently launched 548 Capital LLC, a company that aims to provide better quality and more sustainable housing to lower-income residents in Chicago and beyond. The team plans to take advantage of energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities and inventives, as well as provide jobs for low-income and minority residents, particularly in American inner cities. These populations have historically been left out of the growing clean energy economy, and 548 Capital LLC intends to work to change this trend. 

Patton and Johnson are in the process of buying several multi-unit residential buildings, in which they will first retrofit by installing rooftop solar and improving the quality of the building, and then they will rent out to tenants. They plan to keep rents affordable and prioritize the original tenants in the building.  Solar and energy efficiency will help to lower cost of utilities for buildings, which will provide savings on rent.

Patton stated, “The uniqueness is adding on the solar and commitment to energy efficiency. We want to showcase that you can invest in a community without gentrifying. You buy the building, rehab it, least it out to the exact same people who were there, providing high-quality living. Energy costs are a big cost to the building owner. If I can lower that by a third, that’s a big number. That could subsidize your capital improvements on the front end, and you can really do something special for those folks in terms of the living experience.”

Charles Cole, a partner of Patton and Johnson, stated, “The recognition that energy efficiency and energy generation through solar power can really lower costs for residents, and add value to the real estate investment, I don’t think that’s been truly appreciated in the industry so far.”

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