Mission-Driven Real Estate and Community Development
Polaris American believes in creating not only economic value for owners and investors, but also for the people who live, work and worship in a particular community.
While history may demonstrate a struggle between real estate and community development interests, Polaris American believes that achieving community development goals are actually fundamental to the real estate development process. Development projects, when done right, should enhance the quality of life for the residents, owners and communities in which they are located.
From a long-term perspective, investing in the community will also, ultimately, increase the value of any real estate assets. Making decisions that will improve life and economic opportunity will also create a positive financial return over time.
But, even in assessing short-term goals and sustainability needs, all it takes is a thoughtful vetting process that includes in-depth understanding of the community and puts social objectives as a priority alongside financial ones. And that's what we do here.
We try to find ways to leverage the physical improvements to benefit our residents and stakeholders while creating a sustainable economic program capable of supporting us over the long term.
Celebration of Effort
Having fun and celebrating our efforts along the way are important to building passion and morale among our team. To that end, we see community development not as a set of social and economic metrics to be achieved in a report, but as a process by which we as human beings find ways to connect and improve our lives. We also believe that we should try and enjoy the process, to actually, dare we say, have fun while we build and grow our communities.
As former real estate development underwriters, we are skilled at identifying the upside of each project, as well as the downside. We apply an entrepreneurial approach to each development opportunity in order to quantify the risk we take and to find ways to strategically mitigate those risks: after all its our capital on the line.
We choose to find projects where we can achieve a sustainable financial return, create value for our partners and improve the lives of the people.
All projects that we take on must meet both, our financial and social objectives.
We focus on acquiring distressed properties in need of improvement or vacant land for new housing and urban farms.
We calculate the risk/reward ratio to ensure a sustainable return of, and return on, capital.
We identify opportunities for community and resident improvements. Such as ways to:
Improve the quality of housing and access to organic food
Provide innovative pathways for economic opportunity for residents
Increase local economic control of community assets
Our Chairman and Founder
Born & Raised
Bill Crawley is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Polaris American, a state of New Jersey Minority Business Enterprise (MBE). Born in Newark, New Jersey and a native of East Orange, New Jersey, Bill is an experienced real estate developer who has served a number of public and private real estate development and finance organizations.
Bill began his work in the community development finance movement as a legal intern at the Epes, Alabama based Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. He went on to organize a Newark-based faith-based community development credit union. He served as Vice President at the Washington, D.C. based National Credit Union Foundation, a national credit union funded and directed financial intermediary of the Credit Union National Association. Bill led the redevelopment organization responsible for overseeing construction of the Prudential Center and the redevelopment of Newark’s Downtown Core. Most recently, Bill served as Vice President of Real Estate Development at the New York City Housing Authority, where he led the team that crafted Next Gen NYCHA real estate development program and closed transactions that created 1,500 units of affordable housing. Bill also served as the Senior Director Operations for the New Jersey Community Loan Fund, a federally designated CDFI focused on financing economic development, education and affordable housing.
Bill is a graduate of Morehouse College (B.A.), Boston University School of Law (J.D.) and the Johns Hopkins University Carey Graduate School of Business (M.S. Real Estate). An attorney, Bill is a Credit Union Development Educator and a member of CCIM and was in the inaugural class of Leadership Newark. He currently serves on the Vestry of the Saint Andrew Holy Communion Episcopal Church in South Orange, NJ.