A new commercial space has been established for 14 small Black businesses in southeast Raleigh, NC.

The city’s ABC11 reports the Montague Plaza has opened its doors to tenants through a $4 million project led by real estate developer James Montague in partnership with Raleigh-based software company GlobalXperts. The property is only two minutes from the project apartment where he and his family used to live.

“What I would say I would do when I became an adult was to be the guy that I needed when I was that age,” Montague, who grew up in poverty, explained to ABC11 when he first broke ground on the development in 2021. “And that’s what I strive for now.”

The labor of the project’s 15,000-square-foot space is reaching its finish line as 14 small businesses, along with state and local leaders, joined hundreds from the community for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 18, 2023.

“I wasn’t looking for a national anchor chain,” Montague said, per ABC11. “I was looking for people who are from the area, born and raised, that want to give back and sow back into the area — not just take money out of the community.”

New tenant Stephanie Smith expressed to the outlet, “It’s a blessing to be a part of it, to be able to stay here. So many people are coming in from different parts of the world, and it’s just buying up everything.”

Smith is poised to launch a consignment store that will sell jewelry and cosmetic, among other items. She will share her 1,200-square-foot space with fellow entrepreneurs who wish to become vendors.

Entrepreneur Tonya Binns also will be taking advantage of the location by opening a consulting firm, where she hopes to educate her community on best practices to start their own business.

“We want to be a part of that growth as well,” Binns told ABC11. “We don’t want to stay stagnant and stay stuck. We don’t want to feel like we’re stuck or want to feel like outsiders are coming in and taking over. We want to be a part of the growth and be a part of the great City of Raleigh.”