Buwa Binitie is a real estate entrepreneur in the DC area. He is the founder of Dantes Partners, a real estate development company that is into building affordable houses in the District of Columbia. According to Shoppe Black, Dantes Partners has closed over $840 million of real estate transactions since it was founded.
Binitie tells Shoppe Black that he is a “product of family”. By that, he means he comes from a family of successful entrepreneurs, and growing up he knew his career path had been created for him. And he chose real estate because his family had always been involved in the sector.
Initially, Binitie didn’t want to follow the family business line by going into real estate. He moved out to the West Coast thinking he was going to be the next Mark Zuckerberg but failed miserably. He eventually found real estate and has never looked back since.
Despite being a family business, Binitie says he got more interested in real estate because of the value he could create out of buildings. While for many people, real estate is about brick and mortar, Binitie says it is all about finance for him.
“For most people, it is about bricks and mortar but for me, it is about finance. I just loved the way you can take a piece of asset… for me, it is very tangible to take a rundown building and you try to improve it and you create value out of it,” he says.
Binitie also says he was inspired by the profound sayings of his dad on venturing into business. According to him, his dad told him that if he wanted to go into business, he had to be in one of the three categories that people consume—food, fashion, and housing, hence his decision to venture into real estate.
The real estate entrepreneur says he went into building luxury affordable homes based on his experience of living in New York, San Francisco, and DC. He says he realized very quickly that despite the fact that he made good money while working, he could not afford to live in the city.
He says he had to commute hours on end to work and that became very troubling for him, particularly when he graduated from college in New York City and had to move to Jersey City because that was the next best place for him to live.
“As a young man living in New York, I felt like I had a curfew because the path train at the time wasn’t 24 hours and if I did not catch the last train, I will be stuck in the city which rendered me almost homeless so I really hated that feeling,” he says.
Binitie says that feeling lived in him for a very long time and when he finally got into real estate, he realized that there were many others like him who are equally struggling to get decent places to stay.
Binitie’s firm was responsible for the construction of the Hodge in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood and Delta Towers in the H Street Corridor. Despite his relative success, Binitie says the industry is still White-dominated, and Black real estate entrepreneurs struggle to win government contracts or even get finances.
Binitie, apart from directing the acquisition, development, management and financial activities of his firm, speaks regularly at industry-focused events. His recent engagements include sessions with The Minority Resource, African-American Real Estate Professionals, Biz Now, DC Building Industry Association, and Georgetown University.
An alumnus of the Urban Land Institute’s Real Estate Apprenticeship Program, Binitie received a B.S. from New York University and an M.S. in Real Estate Development from Johns Hopkins University.