Plaza 122, a three-sided shopping center with a parking lot in the middle in East Portland. John Haines, executive director of the CIT, is offering people who live in this economically challenged area of Portland a chance to own a piece of the strip mall. Test.
Since the great recession, 20 percent of Americans have become asset poor — meaning if you took all their property, savings, and investments and added them up, the total would be less than $6,000.
John Haines is hoping a strip mall in East Portland will make it easier for Luthe, and other people who are asset poor, to invest.
As executive director of the CIT, Haines is the driving force behind Plaza 122, a three-sided shopping center with a parking lot in the middle. Passersby might see an All State insurance office, a hair salon and a chimney repair shop, but Haines sees it as a potential game changer to alleviate poverty.
“This, in my mind, is where Marx meets Milton Friedman,” he said. “It’s making the markets work for everybody.”
That’s because Haines is offering people who live in this economically challenged area of Portland a chance to own a piece of the strip mall. He has attached a real estate investment trust to the strip mall, and he wants to make that complicated financial tool available to those in asset poverty.
Haines said it would work like this: investors would take a financial class, then put in $10, $20, or $100 a month. Time goes by. Appreciation goes up, strip mall tenants pay their rent, and if a profit is made, investors get a dividend.
While it’s small money in investment circles, Haines said, it could be a big deal for people seeking financial security.