"Building" Community: Lessons Learned from the pursuit of transformative neighborhood redevelopment across three decades

In the fight to reverse decline and disinvestment in urban neighborhoods, The Community Builders has forged a strategy of neighborhood transformation through catalytic redevelopment, sustained investment, and a focus on resident success.  TCB’s approach has evolved along with constantly shifting urban context and U.S. housing policy. Bart Mitchell, Willie Jones and Jeff Beam will discuss what’s worked, what hasn’t, and what it means for the next generation of community-based revitalization strategies.


Bart Mitchell is president and CEO of The Community Builders, Inc. (TCB), the country’s largest nonprofit developer of mixed-income housing. He was appointed to the post on Jan. 1, 2012 and previously served as chief operating officer.

Mitchell has a distinguished career in community development that began as a housing and economic development advisor to the Mayor of the City of Boston in the 1980s. He first joined TCB in 1989 as a director of finance and served as project manager for complex urban developments at TCB for six years. In 1996, he left TCB to serve as chief operating officer of Beacon/Corcoran Jenison Partners, developing HOPE VI communities. He later founded Mitchell Properties LLC, a developer and owner of high quality residential and mixed-use real estate ventures. Mr. Mitchell returned to TCB in July 2010 as the company’s chief operating officer.

With a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government with a concentration in finance and urban development policy, Mitchell also holds Bachelor of Arts degree from Williams College with Highest Honors in political economy. He is a member of the Boston Air Pollution Control Commission and serves on the board of trustees of The Winsor School in Boston. He is a past board member of Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. and of The Park School in Brookline, Mass.


Jeffrey J. Beam, AIA, is a Senior Development Project Manager for The Community Builders, Inc. (TCB) based in Columbus, Ohio. TCB is one of the largest and most accomplished non-profit development corporations in the United States. Mr. Beam's primary role at TCB is the coordination of a massive revitalization effort in Cincinnati across multiple neighborhoods and TCB functions.

Previously at TCB, he managed two significant developments in Boston, Massachusetts: the first, known as the Charlesview Redevelopment, is a $141 million mixed-use, new construction development consisting of 240 residential units, along with 25,000 s.f. of community and retail space and underground parking in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood.  The second is 225 Centre Street, a $52 million mixed-income building with 103 apartments and 14,000 s.f. of street level retail. Both are under construction and will be delivered in 2013.

Mr. Beam has over ten years of professional experience managing the design and development of transformative neighborhood revitalization projects in Ohio, New Jersey, South Carolina, New York, the District of Columbia and Massachusetts, cumulatively representing over 1,500 units of mixed-income housing and 100,000 gross square feet of community and commercial space.

Mr. Beam is a licensed Architect and LEED Accredited Professional. He has Master’s Degrees in City Planning and in Real Estate Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelors of Architecture from the University of Notre Dame. He has appeared as a guest lecturer and design juror at MIT, Harvard University, Notre Dame and Montgomery College (MD).


Willie Jones is a Senior Vice President and Director of The Community Builders, Inc and has been with the organization for 24 years. He is responsible for managing the full range of real estate services that TCB offers. His current responsibilities include new project and program development across all three of their regions; managing planning and entitlements on all new projects; evaluating business opportunities; and assisting in corporate policy development. Over the past two decades, Mr. Jones spearheaded The Community Builder's efforts in securing and implementing new HOPE VI engagements nationally.

Mr. Jones is a 1974 graduate of Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology concentrating in Urban Planning. Before joining The Community Builders, Inc., he served: as an assistant to the Dean at the College of Engineering at Northeastern University; on the faculty at Tufts University's Urban and Environmental Policy Program; and, at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning's Professional Development Institute. He continues to teach seminars for the Urban Land Institute and at Harvard's Kennedy and Divinity Schools. He completed a three-year term on the Consumer Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Board. Mr. Jones has received multiple awards for his Housing and Community work.


Lunch will be served, RSVP to hcrawfor@mit.edu