As the Director of Real Estate Services, Matt will lead the efforts to build-out, test and model the products and resources needed to fully launch the Centralized Real Estate Accelerator. The Accelerator is a bold new comprehensive and centralized community-based real estate model (pilot) aimed at increasing the capital flow, economic opportunity, and transforming the lives of traditionally underserved residents.
What does your work at Neighborhood Allies look like day-to-day?: I am the Director of Real Estate Services, running Neighborhood Allies’ Centralized Real Estate Accelerator. It is a new position and program, and so far, everyday has been different – everything from listening to a developer’s vision for a vacant building to working with a coalition of regional leaders to solve our affordable housing challenges.
What unique experience do you bring to your role?: I have had a winding (some would say erratic) professional path. I have experience in fundraising, small business and commercial real estate underwriting, data analysis, design, and public policy analysis and advocacy. I think it helps me think broadly and creatively when confronted with a challenge or an opportunity.
What are some professional interests that you enjoy pursuing (even if outside of your job description)?: I am passionate about all forms of design, especially the interplay between the natural and built environments. I grew up wanting to design and build landscapes (and studied it in undergrad) but ultimately chose the comfort of an air conditioned office job. In my current role, I am excited to be playing a small part in helping communities become greener and more walkable and accessible.
What is a project you are currently working on? How does it relate to Neighborhood Allies’ mission of creating and maintaining healthy neighborhoods?: I am helping to build a pipeline of buyers committed to preserving our region’s existing stock of affordable housing. Building new, quality affordable housing is and will continue to be vital; but from an efficiency standpoint, it is cheaper and easier to preserve what we have. It’s a scalable solution.
How does your work impact the Community Ownership pillar of our Healthy Neighborhoods Framework and help us achieve our mission?: Community Ownership is critical. Catalyzing investment in underserved communities is only useful if the money stays in the community. We can achieve this by helping Main Street entrepreneurs own the buildings where they operate and helping residents build wealth by empowering them in the real estate development system.
What is your favorite part about working at Neighborhood Allies?: I haven’t been in the office yet because of the pandemic, but it is clear that everyone really cares about one another. Everyone has been keeping in touch not just about work-related issues, but family, new pets, etc.
What neighborhood do you live in and why do you love it?: Lawrenceville. Cathy the Kissing Crossing Guard at 44th and Butler. She is pure Pittsburgh.
What is your favorite thing to do when not at work?: Travelling (back when that was advisable).
Favorite quote: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”