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February 13, 2014
Getting in on the ground floor of a Manhattan real estate development can be a prohibitive investment for many. The ambitious 17 John project, an extended stay hotel being proposed by Rodrigo Nino’s Prodigy Network, may change all that, while showcasing how an alternative funding and crowdsourcing can give the community more say in future developments.
17 John's roof deck with views of lower Manhattan. Photo courtesy Prodigy Network.
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17 John will combine two architectural styles with the addition of the glass tower. Photo courtesy Prodigy Network.
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The extended glass tower will add to the existing 15-story building, bringing it to 23 stories. Photo courtesy Prodigy Network.
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17 John will be a beacon of glass in the heart of Manhattan's financial district. Photo courtesy Prodigy Network.
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17 John is a "Cotel" created with the new World Trade Center in mind. Photo courtesy Prodigy Network.
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A look at 17 John at night. Photo courtesy Prodigy Network.
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Rodrigo Nino, founder and CEO of Prodigy Network. Photo courtesy Prodigy Network.
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17 John's roof deck with views of lower Manhattan. Photo courtesy Prodigy Network.

The Prodigy Group has already seen this model work. The BD Bacatá project, a 66-story, 1.2-million-square-foot skyscraper in downtown Bogota, Colombia, that attracted 3,500 investors, is poised to open in 2015, boasting office and retail space as well as a 364-room hotel. Founder and CEO Nino, who brought Prodigy to New York in 2007 and also created the Ideal City Project, a crowdsourcing platform for solving urban issues, is currently working on AKA Wall Street, a $90 million extended stay property in Manhattan.

But 17 John, labeled a “cotel,” exudes a higher profile -- architect Winka Dubbeldam designed proposed the 23-story space in Fulton Center, and the design of the interior will be crowdsourced. Poised to take advantage of the renewed energy in the Lower Manhattan, the project would ask individual investors to pony up $100,000 for a REP (Real Estate Participation) -- not an impulse purchase, by any means, but a relatively small amount for New York real estate. Due to the high dollar amounts involved and large potential yield, a third party will monitor all investments.

“We have learned that crowdfunding not only democratizes investments, it also makes projects viable that otherwise would not be possible,” says Nino. “With 17John, we are providing real estate investment opportunities to accredited investors.

During Social Media Week New York, Nino will be speaking about his project as part of a panel called “Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding: A Social Media Revolution In Real Estate,” taking place February 20th at noon at Highline Stages at 440 West 15th Street.

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