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Affordable Upstate honored by Greenville Chamber of Commerce

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Leadership programs are designed to engage people in the concept of creating positive change in their communities. Two members of Leadership Greenville’s 2016 class took the concept and ran with it.

Brian Albers and Mario Brown of Affordable Upstate were honored earlier this month by the Greenville Chamber of Commerce for their efforts to create communities where everyone can prosper with the Leadership Greenville Alumni Award.

The two met during the 2016 edition of Leadership Greenville, a year-long program aimed at developing people to take charge and spearhead community change. Class 43 took an intensive look at many pressing issues in Greenville County. They identified the lack of affordable housing as a pressing challenge facing the community.

And that led Brown and Albers to combine their experience in investing and construction to try and meet these community needs. They formed Affordable Upstate in 2017, committing themselves to a positive, people-centric approach. 

“We decided to address these issues with a positive, people-centric approach to real estate investing,” Brown said. “Our goal is to impact the community by supplying an affordable housing product superior to what is typically available in this market.”

Affordable Upstate began with the purchase and revitalizing of 63 multifamily units in Greenville/Spartanburg, Albers said. Today, it owns nearly 1,500 units and is actively pursuing new projects throughout the Southeast.

After graduating from Davidson College in 2007, Albers began his career at Raymond James in the marketing department at the firm’s home office in Florida. In 2012, he was promoted to Operations Manager and moved his family to Greenville to oversee administration, operations, compliance, marketing, and financial management in the downtown Greenville and Greer branches. In 2015, Albers earned the Certified Financial Planner designation. He also held Series 7, 9, 10, 31, 66 and life and health insurance licenses. Albers has served on the boards of the Salvation Army Kroc Center, Downtown Symphony Club, and the organizational committee of Opportunity Greenville.

Brown is a former college football All-American, graduating from Gardner-Webb University in 2009 with degrees in English and Political Science. After cutting his teeth in business management and marketing with a national sports training company, Brown decided to go all-in on Greenville in residential construction and brokerage. He spent three years representing a regional production builder. There, using marketing and social media skills crafted at his previous profession, Brown quickly became the company’s top agent. Eager for a more integrated, local work concentration, he joined Milestone Custom Homes, an exclusive luxury home builder, as its director of sales and marketing. The four years Brown spent at Milestone helped him truly understand the creative impact builders and developers have on the residential landscape. The education and exposure he received being a part of best-in-class developments such as Hartness Village stick with him to this day. 

In the community, Brown is vice chairman of the Homes of Hope Board of Directors; a member of the YMCA Greenville board; and formerly served on the Fall for Greenville board.

Affordable Upstate will continue to work on strengthening the community through affordable housing, Brown said. 

“We are committed to safeguarding the preservation efforts we've undertaken thus far,” he said. “To achieve this, we aim to establish a fund through local impact investors and businesses contributions.”

Albers said this strategy will enable Affordable Upstate to retain ownership of its assets and prevent their sale to external parties who may not appreciate the affordability housing needs of the community.

 “It will allow us to maintain stable rental rates for our residents despite the properties incurring higher interest rates,” he said.

About Affordable Upstate:

Affordable Upstate is a real estate investment firm focused on redeveloping and redefining naturally occurring affordable housing in the Upstate of South Carolina. Since 2017 they have placed over $50 million of investor equity into socially responsible, environmentally enhanced workforce housing assets, resulting in a diverse and thriving portfolio with over 1,450 apartment units that satisfy the expectations of residents, investors, and communities. Learn more at Affordable Upstate.


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