Popularise’s test site at 1351 H Street NE
Do you really want a bakery or a restaurant in your neighborhood? Thanks to a new start-up, you could soon have a way to tell that to real estate developers.
The goal of the new website Popularise is to use the wisdom of the masses to collect ideas for new developments. Ben Miller, a real estate developer, founded Popularise with his brother Daniel and partners Brandon Jenkins and Kenny Shin.
“My time working in big real estate taught me why the wrong things get built,” Ben’s bio states. Miller hopes Popularise will democratize the development process and bring in more original, less “cookie-cutter” retail.
Today, neighborhood development is dominated by large institutional companies that use Wall Street money to finance their projects. These companies typically know nothing about the neighborhoods in which they’re developing. The decision-makers are out of touch with the realities of what residents like you want, need, and use.
Here is how Popularise works: First, real estate developers post projects on the site, then residents log in to contribute ideas, check out the short list of developable buildings, and vote on what they’d like to see there.
The founders are testing the concept with a building they recently purchased at 1351 H Street NE. Right now, the site is invitation-only and there are just a couple dozen votes, but local clothing designer DURKL’s flagship store is barely beating out a gourmet pizzeria as the top request. There is one other interesting twist to the new site. Eventually, the plan is to allow residents who live in the area to buy into the business and thus have a vested interest in its success.
Of course, the poll results will only be useful to developers if Popularise gains a critical mass of users and those users are right about what they will actually buy. It’ll be interesting to see which ideas rise to the top of the heap as Popularise gets more…popular.
This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/popularise_polls_residents_for_development_ideas/4748.
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