Of all my real estate projects, the one that stands out the most is a 26-unit apartment conversion in Bakersfield, California. In striving to make this project financially successful, I came to realize that true success does not always equal financial gain.
I found that Spirit works in strange ways.
As the result of construction delays and a plummeting real estate market, we were deep into a project with no way out. As I explored options to salvage our investment, an opportunity surfaced to work with Kern Regional Center (KRC), the largest group in California supporting people with developmental disabilities. But we would need to substantially lower our pricing.
I lowered our prices…
In concert with Donna Kunz, Director of Bakersfield Economic and Community Development, and Dr. Mike Clark, CEO of KRC, we rezoned the property in order to obtain a large Federal grant, as well as created an internal financing package.
Even though it contributed to almost a complete loss of our investment, I knew it was the right thing to do. For the first time in California, 16 special needs families were able to become homeowners.
To this day, those families continue to use this opportunity to function in a society that poses challenges at every corner. They have attained one of the most basic human desires – to own one’s own home – a dream that, at one time, seemed impossible for those with special needs.
As I spent two years seeking financial success through this investment, I really believe that the Spirit was pointing me in a different direction… to become aware that the real success here was in serving others.
In hindsight, I now understand that my most successful venture was one guided by the heart.