Real estate investor to open first-ever blockchain incubator in Tampa • St Pete Catalyst
Brandon Middleton thinks NFTs will soon be an integral part of the real estate industry and he wants his new venture to be at the center of all the action.
Middleton, president and founder of the American company Portfolio Real Estate based in Tampa, opens the New Wealth CoLabthe first-ever real estate and blockchain-focused co-working space in Seminole Heights.
The USA Portfolio Real Estate team renovated the space at 4007 N. Taliaferro Ave., which also serves as the real estate group’s headquarters, to attract entrepreneurs interested in attending workshops on NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and who need a coworking space.
Middleton said the group has been running weekly classes for over a year now and has attracted local investors, startups and developers, but needed to create a destination for entrepreneurs to conduct their business, meet clients and serve larger groups for weekly classes. .
“The courses we have cover everything from NFTs and marketing to financing and finding properties,” he said. “The space is different from all the others because you’re entering an environment where you already have an angel investor in the building, as well as a digital marketing agency (as part of business operations).”
The 7,000 square foot New Wealth CoLab will open Feb. 26.
The office building once served a variety of uses, ranging from doctors’ offices to housing an architectural firm. Middleton and her company moved into the space over a year ago and rented one of the second-floor suites.
When the opportunity to buy the property came in the form of a foreclosure, Middleton knew he wanted to pursue it.
Middleton had an existing relationship with the lender and purchased the building in a $1.7 million deal in November. The first floor suites have now been completely cleaned, allowing Middleton and his team to build a larger and refreshed open collaboration space.
The open collaboration and coworking center will be equipped with desks and phone booths, where members can make private calls and conduct business.
There will be sliding barn doors that separate the collaboration space from a modern cafe, which will serve drinks and snacks.
Embracing NFTs in Tampa Bay
The ultimate goal of the incubator is to educate the community and create a pool of potential clients who want to dive into the world of NFTs and real estate, but may not have the know-how.
“We reduce risk by being an integrated lender and we provide the collaboration space for a fraction of what others cost,” Middleton said.
He explained that the property group will create 300 minted NFT access passes. “The way we teach NFTs is to create one of our own and invite more partners to link real estate and blockchain projects.”
If someone wants to join, they will have to buy someone else’s pass once they reach the 300 pass limit.
“I’ve spent over $500,000 attending seminars and courses, and some were great, some weren’t. After all that spending, there’s no way to get your money back,” Middleton said.
Middleton understands the fear of what it means to put all his cards on the table when starting a new business, as he has experienced overcoming multiple financial obstacles in his life.
Middleton grew up in a poor neighborhood of Los Angeles, where he watched his mother struggle. Middleton’s father was not pictured and his mother was in an abusive relationship.
He remembers living in shelters and his mother working many times as his health deteriorated.
Later in life, when Middleton and his wife first got into real estate and bought two houses, the market crashed and they were forced to go on a short sale.
Middleton has faced many obstacles, and in every situation, he says, he finds the strength to pick himself up and start again. “The reason I got into this business is that I grew up without opportunities,” he said. “I struggled and there are no opportunities without the pay-to-play concept.”
For more than five years, Middleton, who also has a background in digital and marketing, has helped people invest in turnkey and wholesale real estate opportunities and avoid the dangers and pitfalls of real estate investing.
In addition to overseeing his business and creating a destination to cultivate innovation and inspire entrepreneurs, Middleton also wants to make a difference for those who have experienced similar triumphs as he grew up. Therefore, he is partnering with the Crisis Center in Tampa Bay – and will also be opening a food pantry.
The pantry will be in a designated space inside the CoLab cafe.
“We want to show other investors how you can seamlessly give back to your community and pay it forward,” Middleton said.
Those interested in connect with middleton can do it here. He will also be attending the Synapse Summit event in Tampa next week and will be at the Re Block Miami event in April, which is a conference on blockchain and fintech in real estate.