The Story Begins
with Near North Development Corporation
About a decade ago, the community development corporation responsible for Crown Hill neighborhood—Near North Development Corporation—faced dire challenges in its service area:
- 1 in 14 chance of violent crime (17th highest in the nation)
- Home sale listing prices as low as $14,000
- 25%+ home vacancy or abandonment rate
- 31.9% poverty rate
This crippling trifecta of crime, blight, and poverty left many in despair about the future of Crown Hill. Undeterred, community leaders developed plans to begin the process of restoration in Crown Hill.
For Near North Development Corporation (NNDC), this meant working to create a functioning residential real estate market where, effectively, one no longer existed. Over the next ten years, NNDC would work with partners throughout the local and national community to improve the residential housing supply in Crown Hill and build 106 homes.
Enter Marlin Jackson
and Revive Construction Group
Motivated by his Christian faith and a childhood of adversity and family brokenness, Marlin Jackson founded Revive Construction Group in 2017 to renew struggling low-income communities. Change would happen, Marlin envisioned, by pairing new residential housing construction with increased access to adult education and social services. Marlin partnered with construction veteran Scott Blyze to provide crucial industry expertise for Revive.
Around this time, Near North Development Corporation faced a predicament of its own in Crown Hill. NNDC had maxed out the limited supply of general contractors willing and able to build affordable residential housing in Crown Hill—it had funding for two more houses than the existing contractor supply could build. Revive was an ideal partner to solve not only the immediate need, but also increase the supply of affordable housing builders long-term.
Despite the challenges which deter so many builders from places like Crown Hill, when Marlin and Scott learned of the opportunity with NNDC, they were all-in and decided to launch Revive’s inaugural projects at 3739 and 3742 Graceland Avenue.
“one of the most basic of all of our needs is shelter over our heads and a stable place to go home to and a stable parent to lead us.” – Marlin Jackson
A Visionary Team
inspires change and breaks ground
As construction progressed over the next twelve months, 3739 and 3742 Graceland were not the only places transforming. Local not-for-profit Rebuilding Together partnered with Revive to beautify the neighborhood and tear down a derelict shed. Neighbors started cleaning up their yards. A drug dealer who had been living and working nearby moved out. The spark of revival had been lit and radiated from the Graceland builds into the surrounding neighborhood.
Developing 3739 and 3742 Graceland was a complex endeavor that required support from many partners. The following individuals and organizations united to make the builds on Graceland Avenue possible:
- Revive Construction Group – build two affordable single-family homes from the ground up, create a subcontractor base in an urban setting usually devoid of new construction
- The Mercy Fund & Stone Table – provide Revive Construction Group with a loan to capitalize construction
- Near North Development Corporation – identify builder, develop home specifications, secure financing, orchestrate inspections, source federal grant money (in this case, HOME funds), provide land, identify qualified homebuyers
- Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership – lend to NNDC, invest equity to cover gap between mortgage and development cost, provide homeownership training to home buyers
With this team in place, Revive broke ground in Crown Hill on April 26, 2018.
Creating Beloved Community
with faith-inspired values
The efforts of many over the past decade have yielded fruit in Crown Hill. Near North Development Corporation (NNDC) placed a low-to-moderate-income single mother and a single woman into 3739 and 3742 Graceland. Marlin and Scott have turned their focus to refining Revive’s business model and identifying their next project on the near north side of Indianapolis. Also, on August 2, 2018, Crown Hill and anti-violence not-for-profit Ten Point Coalition celebrated 1000 days without the murder of a young person in the neighborhood.
All of the below efforts in Crown Hill, and many others, evokes a Christ-inspired ideal Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. popularized called “beloved community”:
- Revive’s exertion to operate the difficult business model of urban affordable housing construction in neglected or disinvested neighborhoods
- Marlin Jackson’s and Scott Blyze’s interracial business partnership
- NNDC’s steadfast work to build 106 homes over a decade, providing dignified housing and increasing new home sales prices by nearly 42%
- Marlin Jackson’s use of his Super Bowl platform to advance affordable housing in Indianapolis