Bridges Ventures has launched the $25 million Bridges UrbanView fund that will invest in U.S. real estate projects that aim to deliver strong financial returns as well as measurable social and environmental impact.
The move follows a similar strategy that the London-based impact fund manager has deployed in the United Kingdom.
In its first deal, the new fund has committed $11 million to finance Spoke, a project involving the construction of 224 units of mixed-income housing on the east side of Atlanta. The Spoke will form part of a larger transit-oriented development that seeks to transform an underutilized parking lot adjacent to the Edgewood/Candler Park MARTA train station into a vibrant, sustainable neighborhood.
The development will provide affordable and market-rate housing, community green space, and space for a local community organization that serves disadvantaged populations. The fund is investing alongside joint venture partner Columbia Ventures, whose principals have developed 67 affordable and mixed-income residential, commercial, and mixed-use properties in the Southeast since 1991.
“The Bridges UrbanView fund is founded on the belief that applying built environment solutions can promote economic opportunity and sustainable communities, while filling a market funding gap and providing investors with attractive risk-adjusted returns,” said Rachel Diller, who leads Bridges UrbanView. “We are grateful for the support and expedience of our seed investors, whose faith in us serves as a validation of a model with significant growth potential. We believe the Spoke project in Atlanta will be an excellent illustration of our thesis.”
Diller, partner and head of U.S. real estate funds for Bridges Ventures, was most recently managing director at Goldman Sachs’ Urban Investment Group.
The group's debut U.S. vehicle is anchored by two strategic investors: Prudential Financial and Ron Moelis, a prominent affordable housing developer.
Bridges UrbanView will seek out investments in urban areas that need revitalization, with a focus on building healthy neighborhoods and broadening access to economic opportunity. The fund will typically work in partnership with local best-in-class developers, providing them with access to right-sized, impact-aligned capital. Sectors of interest include:
- Mixed-income and workforce housing;
- Fresh food and other essential retail;
- Manufacturing and maker space;
- Small-medium enterprise office space;
- Community and health-care facilities; and
- Hotels promoting local hiring and growth.
The launch of the U.S. property fund represents a significant strategic addition to Bridges’ existing business lines, which include the Sustainable Growth Funds, Property Funds, and Social Sector Funds in the United Kingdom, the Sustainable Growth Fund in the United States, and the global Bridges Impact+ advisory service.