5 Black men building new South Shore high-rise 'for the community'

ByTerrell Brown and Poinesha Barnes WLS logo
Tuesday, February 20, 2024
5 Black men building new South Shore high-rise 'for the community'
Jemal King, who is part of the Model of Transformation, is 1 of 5 Black men building a new South Shore high-rise, The Xchange, at 72nd and Exchange.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago has no shortage of amazing people, doing amazing things.

But one home-grown guy said he took his 9-to-5 job as a police officer, and turned it into a millionaire lifestyle.

Now, he's part of a team of Black men working to build a new high-rise on the South Side.

Jemal King, a real estate investor, is a Chicago-born, self-made millionaire.

"I want to be a man kids can really, you know, look up to and say like, 'man, this guy did it, why can't I?'" King said.

King originally had dreams of going to the NFL, but they didn't work out. So, he became a member of law enforcement, following in his parents' footsteps.

"I said to myself that just because I didn't make it to the NFL did not mean that the vision and the dream I had, taking care of my family, that didn't have to stop," King said.

While working as an officer, he started investing in real estate, amassing his fortune while keeping his 9-to-5. And, so, he became known as the 9-to-5 millionaire.

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He's also part of a development group called "Model of Transformation," made up of five Black men.

"So you got Mark Beaufort, you got Damen Stuart, you got Gerald Williams and you got Johnny Mullins, and the four of the five of us all have a special gift, that we have a special talent," King said.

The group is behind developing a $40 million high-rise called "The Xchange" at 72nd Street and Exchange Avenue in the South Shore neighborhood.

"It's gonna be 17 stories. It's gonna overlook Lake Michigan. It's going to be 120 luxury units, going to have anywhere from four to eight commercial spaces, which is going to house some of the finest restaurants," King said.

He said the building will have a black and gold color scheme, reflecting Black American culture. He hopes the project will serve as a symbol of growth in the community.

"We're gonna keep rent competitive to what's already there in area, you know, especially from the Hyde Park area, South Shore area. We're not trying to rent gouge. We want this development to be for the community," King said.

King and his partners are also working to expose children from the neighborhood to programs centered on architecture, development and entrepreneurship.

"The one thing that I want a kid to know 100 years from now, when they walk past, that this building was developed by five men who just believed that all things was possible," he said.

The Xchange project is expected to break ground in the spring, and be completed late next year.

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