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Northern Real Estate Urban Ventures awarded $8M ARPA grant

Northern Real Estate Urban Ventures (NREUV), the lead developer on a housing project in Cleveland, has been awarded an $8 million grant from the Cleveland City Council.

Dr. Gina Merritt, founder of Northern Real Estate Urban Ventures. (Submitted photo)

The grant is allocated as part of the city’s American Rescue Plan Act funds (ARPA) – the largest distribution of the city’s $511.7 million federal stimulus funds for real estate projects to date.

The project at 9410 Hough Ave. is a condemned 10-story, 116-unit apartment building. NREUV plans to restore it for use as low-income housing. The project will include 5,000 square feet for a community center on two floors.

For NREUV founder Dr. Gina Merritt, MBA, a Baltimore County resident and whose Washington-based company has offices in Baltimore, this project is a watershed moment in her career and for her business. She has spent most of her career working in development and affordable housing. As a minority developer she has struggled to obtain financing for projects.

NREUV has partnered with SLSCO of Texas to renovate the building at a cost of about $37 million. SLSCO bought the building, built in 1973 and condemned for a decade, in June 2021 for $1.5 million.

The team will renovate the property into one- and two-bedroom units for families earning 60% of the area median income. The community center will provide residents access to health screenings, employment services and entrepreneurship.

Construction is projected to begin in August, after its financial closing in July. It is expected to be completed in 2024.

NREUV is a community development organization engaged in a holistic approach to real-estate development in low-income communities.  Using a human-centered approach, NREUV works with local businesses to help grow them and with local residents to create economic empowerment opportunities, all while performing real estate development activities.

Merritt has more than 26 years of real estate development, finance, construction and asset management experience. She has participated in the development of more than 7,500 units of housing and has underwritten approximately $4.5 billion in real estate development transactions.

She is an experienced owner, developer and asset manager that brings her practical development knowledge and perspective to her business model. NREUV is currently managing the development of more than $300 million in development projects and consulting on more than $180 million.

Merritt holds a doctorate of social work from the University of Southern California, an MBA from the University of Virginia, Darden Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Howard University.