Russell Berusch wrote a strategic business-and-financing plan for a new four-way partnership we developed with another nonprofit and two large, national for-profit companies. Our aim was to create a non-subsidized, for-profit program to creatively acquire distressed properties from loan servicers and others, renovate them, and lease or sell them at extremely affordable prices. Russell was adept at pinpointing the most relevant goals and priorities of both the nonprofit and for-profit partners, and navigating a partnership agreement that satisfied our disparate priorities. He demonstrated strong analytical, negotiating and writing skills – as well as a passion for the community renewals goals that all four organizations wanted to reach. The breadth of Russell’s experience in both for-profit and nonprofit development gives him valuable insight into the dynamics of both, enabling him to bring a clear-eyed understanding of the obstacles and pinch points, as well as the opportunities projects present.”
Executive Director, Slavic Village Development
Slavic Village is a Cleveland neighborhood steeped in a rich ethnic history, where Dave’s Supermarkets had owned and operated a profitable, but deteriorating grocery store for decades. Dave’s was committed to the community but knew without a major change it could lose sales to new competition. The company turned for development guidance to Neighborhood Progress, Inc. (NPI), which advised Dave’s to build a new store.
Because the new store was to be owned by a for-profit entity, it was particularly difficult to obtain a subsidy to overcome high site and building construction costs associated with bad soils conditions.
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Working with Slavic Village Development, the local community development corporation, Russell Berusch, then senior vice president of real estate for NPI, acted as fee developer for Dave’s Supermarkets. Dave’s asked NPI to design, finance, and manage development of the new store at its Slavic Village site. The company kept the old store operating while the new one, which included an in-store bank, was under construction.