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Emerging Developer Loan Program Participant, One 5 Olive, sets the standard for up-and-coming, socially-minded real estate developers in Milwaukee and Wisconsin

November 17, 2021


Brothers Greg Davis and David Griggs, who were raised in Milwaukee, created One 5 Olive with the mission of working to revitalize and stabilize communities through the renovation of tax and mortgage foreclosed single-family homes and commercial properties on the North Side of Milwaukee where racial disparities are felt the hardest. 


The name, One 5 Olive, is derived from their childhood home which was located on the corner of North 15th and West Olive streets in Milwaukee which belonged to their grandparents and was the epicenter of their family life.


“The door was always unlocked.” States David Griggs. “You would oftentimes go to bed and wake up the next morning to find a cousin or another member of the family staying at the house which provided a strong close-knit family life that all focused around community.”


The lessons learned while growing up would end up paying dividends for the brothers moving forward. After they both attended the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, and worked in the property management field, they knew they wanted to return home and make positive change through the acquisition and rehabilitation of single-family homes. Upon their return to Milwaukee, they prepared themselves to be active in the market by attending City of Milwaukee Plan Commission Meetings, introducing themselves to committee members, alderpersons, and key players to see how they could best position themselves to be an asset in the change they wanted to see.


These initial meetings and introductions led them to participate in the Associates in Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) Program, a LISC Milwaukee supported initiative, that recruits and retains people of color for careers in commercial real estate fields of development, property management, and construction management.


Following their graduation from ACRE, they began searching for a partner that would provide them with the flexible capital needed to make their plan a reality. That’s where FCI came in! FCI was able to fill that role and provide them with a revolving line of credit that allowed them to acquire properties, rehab them and provide stable, affordable housing for their community. 


“Our relationship with FCI allows us to grow our business and expand into commercial real estate. They have been instrumental in allowing us to have multiple projects take place simultaneously which provides additional work for us and our contractors who are primarily people of color and from the communities we serve. They definitely live up to their name of Forward COMMUNITY Investments.” Shares David Griggs. 


The impact of their work can be seen and felt through the transformation of unkept properties into qualify safe and affordable housing available to local residents. 


“The neighborhoods that we purchased properties in have a strong sense of pride. Some of these homeowners have been there for decades and are grateful we are rehabbing these properties. They often time see us working and come up to us and thank us and even offer to keep an eye on the property when we are not there. That exemplifies an immense sense of pride.” Says Greg Davis.

 
Ryan Zerwer, FCI’s President & CEO remarks, “Emerging developers like David and Greg are champions of innovative and impactful projects that contribute to our communities in tremendously positive ways. When barriers to capital are removed, they thrive. We are committed to amplifying their roles in the neighborhoods and communities they serve.”


Congratulations One 5 Olive! We look forward to partnering as you continue to revitalize Milwaukee neighborhoods!

If you are interested in learning more about FCI’s Emerging Developer Loan program, click here or if you would like to chat with us about being a potential borrower, please reach out to lendingservices@forwardci.org