“We are excited to see a new source of capital for projects such as Chatham Mill.  The American South Real Estate Fund is a great financial tool for these types of challenging redevelopments that can help transform communities in need of revitalization.”

– Kenneth Reiter
(Belmont Sayre, ASREF Developer)

“The workforce and affordable housing that has been constructed, coupled with the future community services to be provided, are directly aligned with ASREF’s mission to positively impact the communities in which we invest.”

– Deborah La Franchi
(ASREF Managing Partner)



The American South Real Estate Fund (the “Fund” or “ASREF”) provides mezzanine debt, preferred equity, and equity financing for real estate projects located in emerging low- and moderate-income neighborhoods in ten southern states.

ASREF is an impact fund having a Triple Bottom Line (“TBL”) investment strategy:

First Bottom Line:

Target risk-adjusted market rates of return

Second Bottom Line:

Catalyze economic and community development that benefits, revitalizes, and stabilizes emerging low- and moderate-income communities

Third Bottom Line:

Invest in projects with a range of environmentally-sustainable attributes

Fund Capital

ASREF’s principal purpose is to provide funding in the types of general projects meeting the criteria listed below:

PRODUCT TYPEDiversified across product type: Multi-family, mixed-use, industrial,
office, retail, hospitality, educational, medical and other.
TARGET PROJECT SIZE$8M - $100M (Total Project Cost)
TARGET INVESTMENT SIZE$2M to $15M, subject to certain investment restrictions
INVESTMENT STRUCTUREMezzanine debt, preferred equity or joint venture equity. ASREF is primarily a preferred equity/mezzanine fund but the available capital and financing can be structured to meet the needs of the sponsor. Returns are commensurate with the level of risk.
COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT ACT (“CRA”)All investments are intended to achieve community and economic development impacts. The Fund seeks projects that could receive positive CRA consideration (in emerging low- to moderate-income census tracts or projects that benefit low- or moderate-income persons).

For inquiries about ASREF and the types of projects it supports, please contact ASREF’s lead originator: Tyler Epps (770) 575-9942


American South Fund Management, LLC (“ASFM“) is a joint venture between Strategic Development Solutions (“SDS”) and Vintage Realty Company (“Vintage”). ASREF couples SDS’ impact-fund investment platform with Vintage’s hands-on real estate development expertise, as follows:

Strategic Development Solutions (SDS)

SDS was founded in 2001 by Deborah La Franchi. SDS specializes in structuring and managing impact funds. These funds seek risk-adjusted market rates of return (the First Bottom Line), while also targeting positive economic and community development impacts (the Second Bottom Line) and environmental sustainability (the Third Bottom Line). SDS has over $1 billion of current and past impact assets under management, which includes its own portfolio of impact investments ($580 million) and those of third-party impact funds ($494 million) using SDS’ investment platform. SDS was recently named to Impact Assets 50, a select group of fund managers in the impact investing space.

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Vintage Realty Company (Vintage)

Vintage is a 150-person, full-service commercial real estate firm headquartered in Shreveport, Louisiana, with a regional presence in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Mississippi. Vintage’s team manages the Fund’s originations, secures and structures all equity and debt, manages the construction process, and manages the assets. Vintage also has full-scale real estate brokerage and property management divisions. Vintage utilizes a comprehensive, integrated management approach that provides the opportunity to maximize value for its portfolio – as well as for its clients’ properties – throughout the asset lifecycle. Vintage has served as the developer for 3,811 multi-family units, with 2,914 units under its current management, and an additional 760 units currently under construction or in the development phase. Upon delivery of these new units, the Vintage portfolio will represent a market value of approximately $500 million. The integrity and vision of the founders has yielded the loyalty of employees, clients and investors. Vintage has been actively developing, managing and brokering real estate projects throughout the South since its inception in 1988.

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Our Team

Deborah LaFranchi

Principal - Managing Partner

Ms. LaFranchi oversees operations and provides strategic direction for the Fund, particularly on the fundraising, originations strategy and investment review.  Ms. LaFranchi sits on the Investment Committee. Ms. LaFranchi is founder/CEO of SDS (2001) SDS is a leader in Double/Triple Bottom Line (“DBL/TBL”) funds that seek market rates of return by investing in emerging communities in need of economic and community development. SDS was recently named, for the second consecutive year, as an ImpactAssets 50 manager – a top 50 impact manager in the US. Ms. La Franchi has built SDS into a firm with more than $1 billion of impact assets under management: National New Markets Fund ($477M); the Develop Michigan Real Estate Fund ($60M); the American South Real Estate Fund ($53M); and, providing asset management and finance services to more than $494M of third-party funds. She co-authored the DBL Handbook (Ford Foundation sponsor) and regularly speaks at investment conferences. As Mayor Riordan’s Asst. Deputy Mayor for Economic Development (Los Angeles, CA), she spearheaded the launch and became inaugural CEO of Genesis LA, which launched the Genesis Family of Funds (1999-2001). Ms. La Franchi has a BA in Political Science and History, in addition to an MBA from UCLA, an MPP from Georgetown and has a Series 65.

David Alexander

Principal - Managing Partner

Mr. Alexander oversees operations and provides strategic direction for the Fund, particularly on the investment side.  Mr. Alexander sits on the Investment Committee. Mr. Alexander is co-founder/Managing Partner of Vintage Realty Company; he co-founded the firm in 1988. He has more than 33 years of experience in commercial real estate and has directly structured equity and debt for more than $80M and $300M, respectively, for Vintage’s portfolio that has a current market value of approximately $390M. He has directed the growth of Vintage from a six -person management firm to more than 150 employees today, with expansive property management, investment and development divisions. He has led the development of numerous multifamily projects totaling 3,602 units throughout Louisiana and Arkansas, with another 757 units either under construction or in the development phase. Mr. Alexander is also co-developer of Provenance, a 377-acre Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND), as well as an 88-acre infill development with the Northwest Louisiana Community Development Fund I, which is Northwest Louisiana’s only Double Bottom Line Fund (“DBL”). Mr. Alexander is a member of the Shreveport and Bossier Chambers of Commerce, past Director of the Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation, and past Chairman of Shreveport’s Downtown Development Authority. Mr. Alexander graduated from Louisiana State University with a BS in Business Administration.

Kip Hamilton

Managing Director

Mr. Hamilton oversees the day-to-day operations of the Fund and leads the investment and asset management teams.  Mr. Hamilton sits on the Investment Committee. With over 20 years of experience in commercial real estate investment and development, Mr. Hamilton is responsible for the structuring, launch and management of SDS’ real estate funds. Prior to joining ASREF Mr. Hamilton was an industrial developer with Seventh Street Development, where he was responsible for acquisitions, financing, entitlements, leasing and asset management. Prior to Seventh Street, Mr. Hamilton served as Vice President with Shamrock Capital Advisors, where he helped manage the $85 million Genesis L.A. Real Estate Fund and the $104 million Genesis Real Estate Fund II.  The Genesis L.A. Real Estate Fund was one of the first DBL private equity funds in the United States. The Genesis Funds provided equity and mezzanine debt for developers working in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods in Southern California. Mr. Hamilton is a graduate of Columbia University where he majored in Economics and Japanese.

Kent Peters

Senior Vice President

Mr. Peters serves as the day-to-day in-house point person at Vintage for ASREF and is responsible for piloting originations, due diligence, underwriting, structuring, transaction negotiations and closings for Fund investments. Mr. Peters brings over 22 years of real estate investment banking, capital markets, and structured finance experience to the role. Prior to joining ASREF, Mr. Peters was a principal at a boutique real estate firm and a Senior Vice President at CBRE with responsibilities for the evaluation, due diligence, underwriting, structuring, negotiation and closing of debt and equity placements on complex institutional assets across all product types including office, retail, mixed-use, multi-family, hotel, industrial, and corporate sale-leaseback. Mr. Peters has been involved in over $8 Billion in acquisition, disposition, and debt/equity capital market transactions on behalf of real estate investment trusts (“REITs”), institutions, equity funds, private capital, and developers primarily in the Southeast and Southwestern United States.  Mr. Peters earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Texas A&M University with a Masters of Real Estate in Land Economics and Real Estate.

Tyler Epps

Senior Associate

Mr. Epps, who works out of the Fund’s Atlanta office, leads ASREF’s originations and also assists in underwriting and asset management. Mr. Epps is responsible for the origination of middle market mezzanine debt and preferred equity investments on commercial real estate across all product types. Prior to joining ASREF, Mr. Epps spent three years at Rialto Capital and two years at Trimont Real Estate Advisors, overseeing more than $1B of commercial real estate across the United States in various investment funds. His responsibilities included the underwriting and asset management of all product types including hotels, retail, multi-family, industrial, and office properties. During his time at Rialto Capital, Mr. Epps also underwrote more than $3.5B of commercial real estate across all product types, from senior loans to direct equity investments. Mr. Epps earned an undergraduate degree from Georgia State University and a Masters of Business Administration from Georgia Tech.

James DeLisle

Senior Associate

James DeLisle is a Senior Associate with SDS Group; he has been with the firm since 2019. Prior to joining SDS, Mr. DeLisle spent 5 years at development firms on the West Coast including Mack Urban and Integra Property Group. He has led asset and major development teams across the nation with full accountability for over $2.5B in assets. Prior to his development experience, Mr. DeLisle worked as a consultant where he provided portfolio and asset management strategies for clients such as Samis Land Company, CBRE Global Investors and Microsoft. Mr. DeLisle is a graduate of the University of Washington where he received a Master’s in Real Estate, a Master’s Certificate in Global Trade, Transportation and Logistics and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. During his studies he was also a member of the UW Lacrosse team. He is currently pursuing a Certificate in Construction Management at the University of California, Los Angeles. Mr. DeLisle leads the day-to-day asset management activities for the Fund.

Jimmy Backofen

Senior Advisor - Investments

Mr. Backofen participates in the investment and asset management activities of the Fund and sits on the Investment Committee. Mr. Backofen, who has been with Vintage since 1994, has been instrumental in the company’s growth from less than 20 to the more than 150 employees. He is responsible for all finance and accounting activities, overseeing cash management, cost accounting, financial reporting and employee payroll/benefits. Mr. Backofen is the Director of Asset/Property Management for the $328M Vintage-owned multi-family, office and retail portfolio, as well as Vintage’s third-party client assets. He assisted on two acquisitions and one development for the Northwest Louisiana Community Development Fund I, a DBL fund, and currently oversees the asset/property management services. He is heavily involved with all Vintage acquisitions and developments, assisting in operating agreement ownership structure designs/modifications, proforma underwriting and construction/permanent financing. He has provided financial and operational oversight on 11 ground-up developments consisting of 2,539 multi-family units, with a total construction value in excess of $250M. Mr. Backofen has a BS in Finance from Louisiana Tech University as well as a BS in Accounting from Louisiana State University Shreveport.

Laura Baron


Ms. Baron oversees the Fund’s financial management and sits on the Investment Committee. Ms. Baron is engaged in all aspects of the SDS financial management process, including software applications, project analysis, capital deployment, and ensuring strict guidelines are followed for regulatory alignment and investor transparency. She developed the proprietary operational infrastructure that effectively manages SDS sponsored funds and SDS NMTC Advantage Services, which manages $396M for third-party fund clients. She currently manages assets in excess of $600M across the nation, actively monitoring the construction progress, financial performance and overall business health for each project under management. Prior to joining SDS, Ms. Baron spent 12 years in upper management roles and was involved in several funds with sizeable investment pipelines.  As Director of Operations at Wilshire Associates, Ms. Baron built and managed the trading and compliance infrastructure for a $500M leveraged hedge fund. Ms. Baron earned a BA in economics from UCLA in addition to a MBA from the University of Southern California.

Steve MacDonald

Senior Advisor - Originations

Mr. MacDonald participates in sourcing potential investments for ASREF. With over 25 years of diverse economic development experience, he has built and maintains a strong network of economic development, business, nonprofit, government, real estate, and entertainment-industry professionals across the United States. He oversees operations for the $477M National New Markets Fund.. Under his direction, SDS has successfully underwritten and deployed NNMF allocations representing over $592M in market value. He was past President of FilmLA, the largest privately-held entertainment-industry economic development corporation in the world. He restructured the financially/operationally-challenged agency that was emerging from public scandal, introducing organizational restructure, operational reforms, financial controls and new services, which resulted in revenue growth, positive net income and overall stabilization of the organization. Mr. MacDonald earned a BS in Marketing from San Diego State University and a MBA from Pepperdine University.

Belden Daniels

Senior Advisor

Mr. Daniels is the founder and CEO of Economic Innovation International, Inc., a Senior Advisor to American South Fund Management. A successful global development finance firm, Economic Innovation is internationally recognized for creating more than 125 private equity and debt funds in 43 states and 21 nations in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, today capitalized at more than $100 billion. Economic Innovation has helped design and structure 25 Funds in the ten-state Fund footprint, with investment capital today totaling $13.37 billion. These funds are all designed to accomplish civic and public purposes in this country and overseas. These Funds generate measurable Economic Impacts that produce: [1] superior, risk-adjusted market rates of return for large institutional investors and high net worth individuals and families (the First Bottom Line); [2] wealth creation opportunities and high quality jobs for low-income communities, as well as an increased tax base for these communities (the Second Bottom Line); and [3] smart-growth, green enterprise in mixed-use and mixed-income projects that pull development back into the urban core (the Third Bottom Line). Over the last 45 years, Mr. Daniels has built Triple Bottom Line Impact Funds, or made National New Markets Fund investments in every state of the American South. Since 1997, Economic Innovation, in partnership with Deborah La Franchi of Strategic Development Solutions, has collectively built Double and Triple Bottom Line Private Equity Funds that today, including follow-on funds, are capitalized at more than $2 billion. These funds serve as models for the American South Real Estate Fund. Economic Innovation and SDS also jointly manage the $477M National New Markets Fund, a New Markets Tax Credit Fund of which six investments have won national awards as outstanding and high-impact developments. Mr. Daniels also helped launch the $60M Develop Michigan Real Estate Fund I. Mr. Daniels is an attorney and former international banker in Asia who taught Development Finance at Harvard and MIT for many years. Mr. Daniels has a BA from Dartmouth College and a JD from Harvard Law School.

Kendall Demouchet


Mr. Demouchet is an Associate with Vintage and provides underwriting and origination support. His education and training include economic research and financial markets. A Lafayette, LA native, Kendall is a graduate of Centenary College of Louisiana, finishing with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics with a minor in Business Administration. During his time there, Kendall participated in a wide array of activities such as being a member of the Centenary Gents Basketball team and being invited to speak at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Kendall is a licensed Louisiana commercial real estate agent.





Atlanta, GA – The American South Real Estate Fund has provided preferred equity capital to finance the acquisition and renovation of the 240–unit Manchester Oaks Apartments located in southwest Atlanta. ASREF’s investment will preserve the availability of affordable housing for residents in this LMI area and improve an asset that has not seen a major capital renovation in more than 10 years. The capital plan includes bringing numerous down units back online and cost-efficient exterior, interior, and common area amenity improvements that will benefit the quality of life for residents and families.

ASREF is requiring that 80% of units be affordable to individuals and families making less than 60% of area median income (AMI) and 100% of units will be affordable to those making less than 80% of AMI. The median income for residents within the census tract is 64% of the Atlanta MSA. Manchester is located in a predominately minority area (96%) with 26% of residents living below the poverty line.

ASREF partnered with Nicas Group Capital, a sponsor that focuses on the creation of high-quality affordable housing through the acquisition of blighted communities within growing metro areas.




South Dallas, TX – The American South Real Estate Fund has provided a $1.75 million to E Smith Communities to finance the acquisition and renovation of a long-dormant former community hub in South Dallas’ Lancaster Corridor. The 30,000 square-foot, 2.9-acre building has been vacant for nearly 3 years and is located in a low-income census tract with over 39% poverty. The project, which is near the VA Medical Center, will add much-needed office space to the area and connects downtown Dallas to the growing International Inland Port of Dallas. The project has already garnered strong interest from potential anchor tenants that are on track to create more than 200 permanent, full-time jobs for the area’s mostly low- and moderate-income job seekers. Many of the prospective tenants also plan to bring needed services to the community.




Selma, AL – The American South Real Estate Fund has provided $3.4 million to Rhaglan Hospitality to finance the acquisition and redevelopment of a shuttered historic hotel. The St. James Hotel is situated along the Alabama River near the landmark Edmund Pettus Bridge — site of the 1965 Civil Rights march that became known as Bloody Sunday. Built in 1837, it is the only surviving riverfront antebellum hotel in the Southeast. The St. James will be one of only nine hotels in the Southeast to be part of the coveted Tapestry Collection by Hilton brand. Reopening the St. James Hotel is a top priority for the Selma Redevelopment Authority, the Mayor and City Council, as the property is viewed as a cornerstone of downtown redevelopment. Upon completion, it is projected to bring more than 40 new jobs to an area with 31.7% unemployment and nearly 54% poverty.




Houston, TX – The American South Real Estate Fund has provided preferred equity capital to finance the acquisition and renovation of a 309–unit affordable multifamily community located in southeast Houston. ASREF’s investment will preserve the availability of affordable housing for residents in this LMI area and improve an asset that has not had a major renovation in over two decades. The capital plan includes cost-efficient exterior, interior, and common area amenity improvements that will benefit the quality of life for residents and families.

The community is subject to a Land Use Restriction Agreement (LURA) beyond the term of ASREF’s investment that mandates 100% of the units be leased to individuals and families whose income is 60% or less of area median income. The median income for residents is only 28% of the Houston MSA. The community is located in a predominately minority area (82%) with 32% below the poverty line.

ASREF partnered with a value-add investor with significant holdings in Atlanta and Houston that focuses on improving the quality of Class B and C properties typically in low and moderate-income neighborhoods.

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