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Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Re:Land Group

A bold new way to successfully redevelop a poor and neglected urban neighborhood

Jim Beckett (second from left) with his Outreach Team.


Unlike many of the previous case studies covered in the Business Planning Course that focus on individuals launching start-ups in the technology and financial sectors, this study focuses on a unique approach to real estate development. Much like the Bloomington Trade District, the case study for Re:Land Group centers on renewal and improvement efforts spurred on by an energetic, entrepreneurial leader. While similar in many respects, unlike the Bloomington Trade District, Re:Land is a for-profit organization focused more on community development in underfunded neighborhoods.

The class on the Re:Land Group was held on Thursday, September 21, 2023. Our featured speaker was Jim Beckett (IU Law ’98), who is the Managing Partner of Re:Land.

What is this case study about?

Re:Land is a private redevelopment organization that has adopted a mindful but direct and forward-looking approach to urban renewal in the Park Hill and Algonquin neighborhoods of Louisville, Kentucky. Co-founded and currently managed by James “Jim” Beckett, Re:Land hopes to take on future projects in the Louisville metropolitan area, prioritizing place-keeping, sustainability, and community-led development in the face of systemic racism and wealth inequality.

In the words of Jim:

Our vision is [] grounded in a development that is intentional about addressing the adverse and historical effects of systemic and institutional racism, redlining, economic disparities, under and unemployment, crime and safety, and gentrification. Being intentional not only means letting the Park Hill community lead, but creating processes, procedures, and new systems . . . to prevent any adverse effects of gentrification while creating assets and wealth versus simply “believing” they are important. Pitchbook

Re:Land Group and Luckett & Farley, Park Hill Neighborhood Rhodia Property: Shaping Neighborhoods Where People & Culture Thrive (“Pitchbook”), p 2.

An intimate understanding of the problems that cause decay is key to any successful renewal effort. Thus, instead of a profit-based approach, Re:Land has opted for a listening-driven approach. Re:Land’s current redevelopment efforts at the brownfield property known as Rhodia highlight this intention. However, like any business, Re:Land must successfully leverage its resources to acquire the sustainable capital it needs for this undertaking.


The Rhodia brownfield property is located in Louisville, Kentucky where a former chemical plant operated. Rhodia property article

To best explain Jim’s story and his current efforts with Re:Land, we divided this case study into five sections:

(1) Background on Jim Beckett, which delves into Jim’s educational, legal, and business background and shows how they contribute to his current business endeavor.

(2) Understanding Re:Land and Urban Renewal, addresses the sociological, legal, and economic aspects of urban renewal to highlight the problems Re:Land must overcome.

(3) Structuring Re:Land, which explains how Re:Land is organized and operated.

(4) Accessing the Community, which examines how the community-driven entities operate within the broader redevelopment project.

(5) Financing Re:Land, which discusses the general background of funding small businesses, specific governmental financing tools Re:Land intends to leverage, and Re:Land’s exit strategy.


1. Background on Jim Beckett


Jim Beckett poses for photographer David Mudd in association with the American Bar Association Journal: Legal Rebels podcast.

A. Career history

Jim Beckett is anything but the typical lawyer. With his mother working in the financial space and his father working in the legal space, Jim developed a practical, entrepreneurial mindset early on. Despite his family’s background, his pragmatic mindset did not make higher education, which is often very theoretical, a natural fit.

After completing his undergraduate degree at Indiana University, Jim started his career as a district sales manager at Frito Lays and then later Haagen-Dazs. Finding these jobs profoundly boring, Jim decided to return to school and ended up back at IU, this time for a law degree. While wading through law school, Jim never lost sight of his entrepreneurial aspirations.

Jim began his legal career working in the business law group at a large firm in Louisville, Kentucky. Soon after, he was headhunted by the tobacco company Brown and Williamson to work for them as a marketing lawyer. The transition in-house forced Jim to change his mindset from only addressing legal problems, to helping enable overall business success.

Notwithstanding his success in the legal profession, Jim knew his ultimate goal was not to be a lawyer. So, when the opportunity to work in Puerto Rico for the international marketing side of Brown and Williamson arose, Jim took it. Unlike many lawyers, Jim understood the business strategy, making the transition from law seamless. However, after working in Puerto Rico for three years, Jim knew it was time to come home. 

Returning to Louisville, Jim took a job at his previous law firm (which had merged with Frost Brown Todd, LLP) with the understanding that he would work for two years then go off to start his own business. True to his word, Jim left the firm and started his own business, Qualmet, which aimed to help law firms optimize their business model. The venture was well-funded, had a great technology package, and was landing big meetings with Fortune 500 companies.

Although the business was innovative, and likely some sort of future iteration will be successful, Jim and his team failed to engage their consumer base. A humbling experience, Jim now recognizes the company’s shortcomings and highlights the importance of involving customers in the product. This is one reason community engagement is central to Jim’s new endeavor at Re:Land.

B. The power of a paperclip

In detailing his strategy for success at Re:Land, Jim described the “paperclip” story discussed in Shane Snow, Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success (2014).

The story begins with a bunch of bored college guys at Bingham Young University (BYU) with no alcohol, no girls, and lots of time. So, one night, the group decided to knock on a neighbor’s door, show them a paperclip, and ask them to trade for something “bigger and better.” The kids take whatever they are given, then go to the next door and the next door, each time trying to get something bigger and better.

While some doors are shut in their face, by the end of the night, the BYU crews are coming home with used bikes, golf clubs, tennis rackets: you name it! Clearly, an innovative and useful way to spend a college night, the paperclip story does more than just show the power of the bartering system.

For Jim, the paperclip story represents the business potential of leveraging what he brings to the table as a community member, lawyer, and entrepreneur, as well as how he might fuse his talents with the skills of those around him to produce tangible and sustainable results.  

Specifically, when discussing the potential success of Re:Land, Jim identified three key ingredients: information, access, and finance. As a longtime lawyer who has consistently dedicated his time to community enrichment in Louisville, access is Jim’s “paperclip,” which he can trade to get the information and funding essential for lasting change.

C. Rhodia

Jim’s current venture with Re:Land is focused on redeveloping the Rhodia brownfield site in Louisville, Kentucky. Jim aims to develop new infrastructure through this project while simultaneously lifting up historically underprivileged communities. In the long run, this will help bridge the economic and social gap evident around the Rhodia site. Unlike with Qualmet, Jim is determined to listen to the community and allow them to help guide the project. 

In this case study, we discuss how Jim and Re:Land are using their access, information, and financing in relation to the redevelopment project in Rhodia. In Section 2, we begin by providing the informational background of urban renewal and Re:Land’s unique methodology. Section 3 addresses how Re:Land, through the leadership of Jim, is leveraging its access to the community to bring lasting change. Section 4 examines how Re:Land is structured as a business entity. Finally, Section 5 discusses how Re:Land funds its development projects and how it will eventually exit. 


2. Understanding urban renewal and Re:Land’s motivation


Rhodia Site within the greater Louisville area

Residential and Commercial Buildings with jobs alone do not make a thriving[,] socially just[,] and culturally rich community.” Pitchbook

Re:Land Group and Luckett & Farley, Park Hill Neighborhood Rhodia Property: Shaping Neighborhoods Where People & Culture Thrive (“Pitchbook”), p 38.

A. Urban Decay

For Re:Land to accomplish its goal of sustainable redevelopment, it must examine why redevelopment is needed at all. Thus:

  • Why do the obstacles exist?
  • How can Re:Land cooperate with the communities surrounding the Rhodia site to stop those obstacles from arising again?

We need to start from the beginning to answer these questions.

Urban renewal is a term used to describe the set of processes through which governments or private actors attempt to address urban decay or deprivation: economic, population, cultural, and other forms of community decline. These processes are typically front-lined by local or state governments and may employ state or federal grants, private redevelopment, impact analysis, and urban replanning, among other strategies.

While urban decay is not a uniquely American problem, there is no denying its effects in cities and towns all across the United States, particularly in the Rust Belt. Hartley, Daniel A., Urban Decline in Rust-belt Cities, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Commentary (May 20, 2013). Cities like Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Louisville, and many other Midwestern urban areas experienced significant population, productivity, and community wealth downturns from the post-World War II era to the present.

Many redevelopment efforts are driven by short-term profits. Some well-intentioned efforts are simply misguided, failing to deliver lasting change for communities. This is why Jim attempts to “change the playbook” through Re:Land’s Rhodia endeavor. 

B. Disinvestment and externalities

Urban decay is, in an economic sense, a reduction in the fiscal capacity of a local economy and its participants that is caused by disinvestment. Communities experience disinvestment when there is a decline in the provision of public goods: non-rivalrous resources, amenities, systems, and services that a government and its actors provide non-exclusively to citizens in return for their production (e.g., labor, taxes) and abidance with laws and other social contracts. See Kelly, James J., ‘All Good Things Flow . . .’: Rule of Law, Public Goods, and the Divided American Metropolis (November 21, 2014). 64 Emory L.J. Online 2017 (2014), Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper No. 1444, Available at SSRN.

These goods are provided by all levels of American government, from local to federal, and can include the adjudication of conflicts, infrastructure, education, community planning, healthcare, and economic oversight and cultivation. Public goods are critical to community health and are highly interactive and interdependent. See Gillian K. Hadfield & Barry R. Weingast, Microfoundations of the Rule of Law, 17 ANN. REV. POL. SCI. 21, 23 (2014). That is to say, it is the responsibility of a government and its institutions to keep “healthy” the communities over which it exercises authority so that the labor of its citizens may uphold public goods, prosperity, and a broader rule of law. See Id.

Communities require certain public goods to function; relatedly, they participate in and benefit from their connectivity to broader systems. For example, local economies generally require market oversight to stabilize and cultivate local industries so they may pursue interstate or national commerce. Usually, access to such systems is reduced for individual communities when maintaining this access, through public goods and private investment provision, becomes too costly to governments and investors.

This breakdown often happens because externalities have made the provision of public goods, like economic cultivation, cost-prohibitive. These forces can include discrimination, the outmigration of wealth and skilled labor from the community, the concentration of residents with similar incomes and resources, poor or biased urban planning, macroeconomic forces like relative inflation and shortages, a withdrawal of government support for local industry, among others.

Of these forces, discrimination can be particularly disabling for communities because of its broad influence on social and economic interactions; the effects of historic discrimination against nonwhite communities have eroded public goods in thousands of American cities and towns. In Louisville, a long history of redlining has permanently affected community planning, zoning, property valuation, investment trends, and more.

Modern manifestations of redlining, such as the systemic denial of business loans and property insurance policies for residents living or working in “high risk” areas, continue to disadvantage primarily nonwhite communities. Brian L. Levy, Wealth, Race, and Place: How Neighborhood (Dis)advantage From Emerging to Middle Adulthood Affects Wealth Inequality and the Racial Wealth Gap. Demography 1 February 2022; 59 (1): 293–320. Available here.

Similarly, access to public goods is also restricted by suburbanization, or the consolidation of high-earning/high-skill Americans, usually whites, into communities comprised of other high-earners. These neighborhoods have “strong wealth advantages,” with respect to the availability of business loans, mortgages, home values, amenities, and many other aspects. Id. This uniquely damages disinvested communities and leaves them unable to provide public goods for remaining residents.

C. Disinvestment outcomes and community wealth building

When development efforts do not address externalities to accomplish community wealth building, citizens cannot support public goods like economic organization through their labor and taxation. In these cases, decay is merely prolonged or worse, exacerbated through gentrification. Indeed, such development projects often act as an additional siphon to community wealth. This is because locals do not experience the benefits of investment in non-local businesses as strongly. See, Hess, David J., Localist Movements in a Global Economy: Sustainability, Justice, and Urban Development in the United States (Online ed’n, MIT Press Scholarship Online, 22 Aug. 2013), Available here.

One 2012 study published by Civic Economics collected data from independent retailers and local eateries in Louisville, Kentucky, and compared it to that of several large, chain-style firms to demonstrate the roles that each play in capital recirculation within local markets. The study found that local retailers “return a total of 55.2% of all revenue to the local economy,” through profits, wages, local resale of products or services, and more, whereas chain-style retailers “recirculate an average of 13.6% of all revenue within the … markets that host its stores.” Civic Economics, Indie Impact Study Series: A National Comparative Survey, Keep Louisville Weird (2012). Available here. Local restaurants recirculated an average of 67% of their revenue, and the chain-style eateries recirculated an average of 30.4% within the local market. Id. Civic Economics has published a number of similar studies that examine capital recirculation in prominent cities like Phoenix, Arizona; San Francisco, California; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Chicago, Illinois; and New Orleans, Louisiana.

The after-effects of failed development efforts can leave communities disabled, burdening them with unusable brownfields and obsolete infrastructure. Lauren Heberle, an associate professor at the University of Louisville and the director of its Center for Environmental Policy and Management, noted that brownfields, like the Rhodia site, are often located in disinvested communities with higher concentrations of minority and low-income residents. 


Rhodia and Parkway Place Site Image

Jim and the other leaders at Re:Land underscore the criticality of supporting local economics in their community-led development plan. Although the venture may seek to install a small number of larger “anchor” firms to attract some private investment, the primary vector for growth will be the encouragement of local economics through programs that facilitate small business loans and rent control.

D. You need a boat for the rising tide

Jim used a well-known analogy (with a twist) when speaking to us that highlights why he believes confronting gentrification and displacement should be as important to all developers as it is to Re:Land. He said that a rising tide will raise all boats, but if you don’t have a boat, you will drown.

Jim hopes that by “trapping” wealth in local economies, adopting a long-term ROI structure, allowing communities to articulate their needs, and fostering participation in the decision-making process, Re:Land can promote the development of public goods and community wealth for the Park Hill and Algonquin neighborhoods. This will allow all parties to share in the benefits of a rising tide. 

As discussed in Section 3, Re:Land uses clever corporate structuring and relentless motivation to accomplish these goals.


3. Structuring Re:Land

Screen Shot 2023-12-21 at 4.27.41 PM

Chart depicting one of the funding vehicle structures that Re:Land will employ. [click on to enlarge]

Re:Land is organized as a Kentucky LLC, which provides flexibility to operate in either a corporate or partnership manner. Because LLCs are taxed as pass-through entities, they avoid the so-called double taxation attributed to corporations. Put differently, an LLC is not taxed at the entity level, and all income taxes are passed along to its members.

Importantly, to fund the development projects, Re:Land, LLC is controlled by the “general partner” in a limited partnership (see image above). The “general partner,” delegates the operational duties of the development projects to Re:Land, LLC.

The Re:Land Fund, in turn, operates as the “limited partner” and is responsible for holding and distributing the investments into the various project entities. Investors can put their money directly into the fund while knowing their investments will be managed by the general partner and LLC.

As a limited partner, the Re:Land Fund is shielded from the liabilities of the company and the other partners. Although general partners are typically subject to unlimited liability because the general partner is delegating the operation to Re:Land, LLC, it is protected by its LLC structure. Therefore, the combination of the LLC structure and the limited partnership allows for flexibility in the management of Re:Land and a funneling tool for investment in various development projects, including Rhodia.


4. Accessing the Community

A. Quasi-public purpose

Re:Land is a private entity that acts distinctly from many private development companies, taking on a quasi-public purpose.

For example, in January of 2021, the Louisville/Jefferson County Metropolitan Government contracted with Re:Land to redevelop the Rhodia site with the help of six other private actors, including architecture and complex development firms Luckett & Farley and MPACT Strategic Consulting, and together identified key strategies for renewal. Although Re:Land intends to finance its investment with development fees, residuals from tenant rent, consulting fees, and the ultimate sale of the developed property, it forgoes traditional rent analysis and adopts a rent-controlled structure.

In other words, unlike many private development companies, which finance their endeavors in the short-term by taking steps to attract high rents and inflating the value of the developed land for the purpose of sale, Re:Land is opting for a long-run, low return (ROI) approach. 

Additionally, Re:Land’s unique structure allows it to pay back its investors without worrying about activist, short-term shareholders. This enables Re:Land to engage the community on important site information, like amenities and investment tools to promote local business, instead of engaging in rent and price analysis. Community health is important in this long-run approach; because rents are lower, they will need to be consistent over a long period in order to achieve a workable ROI. 

However, Re:Land understands its goals for the Park Hill and Algonquin areas will require large investments of time and capital. These goals include environmental remediation for the land, for which the City of Louisville dispatched $10 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds in 2022, as well as seeking to address the city’s current housing/rental shortage for low-income residents and students.

B. Short-term and long-term goals

The Metro Government identified Park Hill/Algonquin as a potential growth area as early as 2009, when its Economic Development Department released an implementation strategy for the “Park Hill Industrial Corridor,” which noted key economic features of the neighborhood, such as existing public transit infrastructure and proximity to multiple economic centers including the University of Louisville and Louisville International Airport. According to their agreement with the City of Louisville, Re:Land will begin developing the community-led, mixed-use property once the remediation has concluded. 

In June 2022, Re:Land established the Park Hill/Algonquin Community of Opportunity Advisory Board, which local residents and key stakeholders lead to ensure community listening. Re:Land will endeavor to promote community health through several key strategies: local place-keeping and minimizing displacement; incentivizing reinvestment into local businesses; enabling local workers through partnerships and job-training programs; optimizing public spaces for sustainability and affordability; promoting safety; improving access to public transportation and increasing its efficacy; and utilizing community-driven development in important sectors. 

Jim says that one common problem is that communities do not know what they need to succeed, so Re:Land allows residents to experiment with potential amenities:

[W]e collectively shape our public realm to maximize shared value through […] community based participation and tangible activations, experiments[,] and listening.

Beckett Guest Lecture, September 21, 2023.

Re:Land’s immediate development plans include amenities that have currently been articulated by the community, like a co-op grocer which will be owned and operated by community members; a full 50% allocation for green space, murals, areas for local events and rotating businesses; a daycare/early childhood care facility; and a nearby public computer lab equipped with free wifi.

Long-term goals include an elementary/middle school campus, workforce development spaces, and other community support functions. Re:Land leaders have also articulated an interest in working further with the Louisville Metro Government to establish more favorable financial conditions around the Rhodia site by promoting business loans, a purpose that the rent-control structure will also serve.

But with many developers promising to deliver similar “packages” of essential services, how can the community be sure Re:Land is different? The answer, once again, comes from participation. 


For more information on Re:Land’s goals see Pitchbook

B. Community Ownership

Jim’s legal and business background provides the information needed to create big change. However, information alone will not yield social upheaval; as discussed in Section 1.B, supra, you also need “access.”

For long-term success and sustainability, Jim identified two opportunities for community ownership: (1) the co-op, and (2) individual equity in the buildings developed by Re:Land. Using his access to the community, Jim is providing a path for community involvement and building community wealth.

Unlike many so-called “community-led” real estate development projects, the Rhodia development is focused on increasing the level of ownership in the community members. Right from the start, community members have been in major meetings with the heads of foundations, the mayor, and more.

However, in Jim’s words, Re:Land is not “consensus building” or asking the community, “Hey, what do you want to do with this 17-acre development?” Rather, the community is deciding the “personality” of the neighborhood. For example, the community members said they “wanted the environment to be ‘humming.’” Jim and the architects take these broad ideas and run with them. 

C. The Co-op

To aid in reestablishing local ownership, Re:Land sponsored the creation of a cooperative business entity to help administer the Rhodia site. Cooperative organizations are owned and operated by those who consume the products they generate. Members in a cooperative appoint a committee to oversee the entity and stand on equal footing when making decisions because each member gets one vote, regardless of their stake.

The co-op itself will exist as a separate legal entity that will own assets within the redevelopment area. As Jim said, it will act as its “own economic village.” Importantly, the flexibility of a co-op entity will allow the community to test and make various recommendations to Re:Land before the development is completed. 

The goal of the co-op is to give decision-making power to the community. Presently, the entity is working on drafting its bylaws and is expected to be done by the spring of 2024. The bylaws will outline who can become a member, how to become a member, voting procedures, etc.

Kentucky law gives cooperatives a degree of latitude with regard to their structure, and the community is still deciding exactly what role the entity should fulfill. However, membership will likely be obtained through sweat equity, not cash investment. This will ensure that lower-income community members maintain their ownership stakes.

Jim notes that the process of creating bylaws for a truly community-driven organization is very different from the usual process, and many business and legal norms are not being followed. While this might give some people pause, Jim is excited by it. He emphasizes how this allows individual community members to bring their unique characteristics to the table. Jim displays an incredible amount of trust and stresses that “the community is never wrong.” 

D. Jim’s investment

Throughout his time with Re:Land Jim has refused to rely solely on setting up legal and business structures for community engagement. Instead, Jim is on the front lines.

Consistent with his trust in the community, Jim told us how he arranged to take a local resident with him to an important meeting with the city council. When Jim arrived to pick him up, he noted the distinct smell of marijuana. Undeterred, Jim stayed true to his word, and they both went to the meeting. Jim routinely demonstrates his willingness to meet the community where they are, without judgment. “Community-led” are not mere words to Jim, who isn’t interested in putting on a show.

As the broker of the deal, Jim has taken on an immense amount of responsibility and risk. Because Jim is not currently bringing in income, he has an incredible amount of “skin in the game” and is wholly reliant on his investors.

How does Jim remain so calm in the eye of the storm? His faith. While many people, especially lawyers and business professionals, avoid discussing religion, Jim wears his on his sleeve. Jim emphatically states his “secret weapon is God,” and religion is what “keeps him sane.” Therefore, no matter what life throws his way, Jim knows he can handle it.  


5. Financing Re:Land

The Rhodia development project has the potential to incite massive, long-lasting change not only for the local community but for Louisville as a whole. However, as Jim identified, access and information are not enough to drive real change; you also need finance.

The following section discusses the technical side of financing small businesses like Re:Land. We then turn to the specific sources of funding identified by Re:Land for the Rhodia project and briefly detail Re:Land’s exit strategy.

A. Background on funding for small business

In the main text for Businesss Planning, author and law professor Dwight Drake explains that funding for small businesses takes effect in three phases: the startup phase, the growth phase, and the external financing phase. See Dwight Drake, Business Planning: Closely Held Enterprises, Ch 6 (5th ed 2018) (titled Capital Sourcing Challenges).

In the startup phase, businesses often rely on personal assets such as their own savings, checking, and retirement accounts. Additionally, in this early phase, the owners will often turn to friends and family to seek initial investment. Lastly, owners may seek home equity loans (also known as second mortgages). The value of such loans depends on the amount of equity the borrower has in the house. Notably, some owners may wish to avoid putting up significant personal assets depending on their own financial situation. Id.

The growth phase is largely focused on maximizing cash flow to make the business as profitable as possible, and thus attractive for later external financing. This phase often involves strategies such as sweep accounting (which uses automatic systems to move money from regular business accounts into interest-bearing accounts daily) and decreasing excess inventory. Id.

Many will turn to external financing if the growth phase is successful and the business develops adequate credit. External financing can come in several forms. Short-term financing (such as term loans, lines of credit, and letters of credit) is often used for periods of less than five years and is most useful when the company’s short-term obligations are greater than its short-term assets.

Notably, some term loans (e.g., commercial loans provided by banks) will require personal guarantees that supersede the company’s limited liability. Long-term financing often lasts for periods greater than five years and is attained by the company taking on debt, selling equity, or both. Finally, some small businesses may seek financing through various government grants. However, grants are rare and often reserved for nonprofit organizations or businesses acting in the government’s interest. Id.

While Re:Land is unique in many respects, its funding has taken a relatively traditional approach. As mentioned above, the Re:Land Fund (the limited partner) holds and distributes investments into the Rhodia redevelopment project, which Re:Land, LLC (the general partner) manages. Jim continues to fight daily for funding. 

B. Angels

In the startup phase, Jim raised half a million dollars by leveraging his network of “angel” investors. These “angels” were primarily wealthy African Americans living in the Louisville area who knew and trusted him. This seed funding was instrumental in getting the project on its feet.

Additionally, Jim and his partners invested—and continue to invest—a significant amount of sweat equity into the venture. Because of the enormous opportunity cost involved in running Re:Land, Jim remains hesitant to seek a home equity loan, specifically noting that his wife would be unhappy with such a move.  

Re:Land’s primary objective is community-centered redevelopment and sustainability, so the growth of the business itself is not paramount despite these financial pressures. To continue to fund the Rhodia development project, Jim has identified alternative sources of financing.

Re:Land’s position as a private entity with community-oriented goals allows it to draw from sources unavailable to many private real estate developers. Such sources include opportunity zone investments, bond financing, Section 8 housing choice vouchers, and tax increment financing (TIF). Furthermore, as mentioned above, Rhodia was designated a brownfield property; therefore, the city will cover much of the environmental remediation costs. 

C. Opportunity Zone Funds

One major source of funding (14% of the total funding sources) for Re:Land is the Opportunity Zone Fund investment.

“A Qualified Opportunity Zone (“QOZ”) is an economically distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.” Opportunity Zones Frequently Asked Questions, IRS, Opportunity Zones Frequently Asked Questions | Internal Revenue Service ( visited January 1, 2024). In essence, investors can avoid taxation on the appreciation of the QOZ investments over the span of several years. Opportunity zone investments provide a catalyst for economic development in distressed communities and, therefore, are a major player in financing the Rhodia land development. 

D. HFA bonds

Additionally, Re:Land plans to leverage bond financing (another 9% of the total sources of funding) provided by state and local house finance agencies (HFAs). HFAs finance mortgages for low- and moderate-income borrowers through Mortgage Revenue Bonds (MRBs) and build affordable rental space through Multifamily Housing Bonds. Because the income from these bonds is tax-free, investors are willing to receive lower return rates than other investments. The HFAs then use the interest savings to reduce housing and rental costs for low-to-moderate-income borrowers.

Like opportunity zone investments, these tax-incentivized bonds provide a mechanism for financing development in low income areas, such as Rhodia, with private money. 

E. Section 8

The Section 8 Housing Voucher Program will further help low-income families at the Rhodia property afford their rental payments even as the property value increases upon redevelopment. If a family qualifies for a housing voucher, the government pays a subsidy on behalf of the family directly to their landlord. The family is then responsible for the difference between the actual rent and the government subsidy.

The voucher program is anticipated to help maintain stability around the Rhodia property and prevent displacement despite the rising property value. 

F. Tax Increment Financing

Another source of government-related financing that Re:Land has identified is Tax Increment Financing (TIF).

When areas like Rhodia are designated TIF districts, the government first establishes a “base” value for the development property. All taxes received on the base value are allocated according to normal city uses. However, any tax revenue that comes with an increase in property value during the project’s life is allocated specifically for TIF uses, such as further redevelopment. Thus, as the Rhodia property increases in value, the corresponding increase in tax revenue will be reinvested back into the development. 

Because of Jim’s community-oriented objectives, Re:Land can obtain funding otherwise unavailable to private real estate developers. However, this approach comes with its own set of financial risks, most notably future default. Opportunity zone investments, state and local bonds, housing vouchers, and TIF each provide ways for the Rhodia property to “trap” wealth, but these sources alone are insufficient.

To succeed, Jim and his team must employ their business and legal know-how to help the community implement ownership through the co-op and leverage additional private funding to reach the long-term goal of sustainable affordability at Rhodia. 

G. Re:Land’s exit

Unlike many real estate developers, none of the strategies implemented by Jim are about selling or ‘flipping’ the land. Because the focus is on the community, the neighborhood-led aspect of the development is central. Jim is looking to create generational change and wealth; he is not looking for a quick buy-out.

Like Jim, the investors in Re:Land’s projects are focused on social impact and are not looking to maximize their return on investment, unlike his investors in Qualmet. In fact, many of Jim’s investors pay into the Re:Land Fund purely because they believe in Jim and Re:Land’s ambitions for renewal and the community itself.

Because Jim’s investors have very different expectations, and Re:Land’s structure allows it to repay those investors without their input on operational duties or worrying about maximizing their returns, it is able to adopt a long-term strategy that allows the communities surrounding Rhodia to grow with the property as it develops, instead of being left behind.

The relentless motivation by Re:Land and its investors, the flexibility in returns, and the community ownership strategies form the basis for Re:Land’s extended exit schedule.



Jim Beckett’s journey from district sales manager to corporate lawyer to co-founder of Re:Land paints a compelling portrait of a visionary leader. His unique blend of practical entrepreneurship, legal expertise, and an unyielding commitment to community welfare sets the tone for Re:Land’s distinctive approach to urban renewal. The narrative is not just about real estate development; it’s a testament to Jim’s resilience and transformative vision.

Re:Land’s Rhodia project, under Jim’s stewardship, is an opportunity for community engagement to take center stage. The co-op model, community-driven decision-making, and a focus on avoiding displacement depart from conventional real estate development. Jim’s strategic acumen in unconventional financing, leveraging Opportunity Zone Funds, bond financing, and community partnerships, crafts a financial narrative aligned with Re:Land’s goals—sustainability over quick profits.

In a field that is often driven by dividends, Re:Land’s exit strategy stands as a beacon of purpose-driven development. Jim’s vision for Re:Land is clear—empower communities and chart a course towards generational change in a Louisville where every boat rises.

The opportunity to talk with and write about Jim’s career has been a tremendous learning experience. It taught us that with the proper knowledge, finance, and access nothing is out of reach. Jim’s story is a testament to the power of belief. With a clear vision, enthusiasm, and dedication, there is nothing individuals cannot accomplish. Regardless of the obstacles ahead, Jim’s contagious positive spirit will continue to push him and all those around him upward.

For any additional information see Re:Land’s Website.