Neighborhood Development Venture Capitalists
This week’s Business Journal profiles Ben and Daniel Miller, son of Herb, who’ve split off from their father’s empire and set up a $10 million fund for something desperately needed around the District: Startup capital to help promising retail and restaurant projects lock down real estate.
Starting in May, WestMill Capital Partners–soon to be headquartered right above Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle–wants to do five deals in 12 months with operators who’ve already got successful projects in the Washington area and are looking for a second or third location. They’ll focus on “underused buildings in vacant parcels” in “up-and-coming neighborhoods such as H Street NE, Bloomingdale and North Capitol Street.”
These are the guys who recently bought Autozone on H Street and will eventually develop it into something more enlivening than an autobody shop. Their website they “built WestMill from the ground up to assail the status quo.” Yikes!
Dan and Ben Miller began tugging two years ago at a simple question they believe is
central to the failings of the American real estate industry. The bothers – sons of a
well-known Washington, D.C. developer – had begun acquiring properties
themselves in the city’s emerging neighborhoods where traditional capital seldom
Instead of building first and asking questions later, one Seattle project is crowdsourcing ideas about what should go in their new space.