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Entrepreneurs ‘Buying The Block’ in Houston’s Fifth Ward To Lure Investment Into Historically Black Neighborhood

Houston real estate broker Jay Bradley and developer Chris Senegal are renovating and revitalizing blocks in Houston’s historic Fifth Ward.

“When you end up finding someone who has a similar passion, the path becomes its own,” Bradley, owner of Equinox Realty Group said. “The path at this point is to help the community.”

Bradley, Senegal, and Cocoa Collective Xchang seek to bring black-owned businesses into Fifth Ward neighborhoods, calling the initiative ‘Buying the Block.’

Senegal first bought an old grocery store in the Fifth Ward and abandoned property near Liberty Road, where after he began building 14 new construction town homes to attract young black professionals to be homeowners in the project. He now wants to redevelop and build homes for families in other parts of the Fifth Ward.

The idea behind Buying the Block is to lure investors back into the community, fund long-term rentals, commercial property, a restaurant, office space and a coffee shop. 1,025 investors have invested $650,000 so far.

“I have enough to complete the project,” Senegal added. “Additional investor funds will be used to acquire adjacent properties to expand the scope of the project.”

Senegal believes community needs continuity. “When the community feels neglected, people come in and they don’t have an affiliation with the neighbors, ” Senegal said. “You need to give more of a sense of revitalization to the neighborhood.” Bradley agrees.

“You create opportunities to have something better in the community,” Bradley said. “At this point, it’s really about helping people who are trying to do good things with the community.”

He added: “It’s less about the dollar amount for me now, and now it’s more about serving your community. This is what she sees. It’s a responsibility to do good for the next person.”

Houston thrives on diversity, he says. “We have the most diverse community in the country,” Bradley said. “There’s a need for diversity and inclusion so that everyone’s needs get met. It’s for Houston. We all thrive, and we are all better for it.”