AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Life sometimes can create a pivot when it comes to one’s aspirations and goals, and Oscar Jessie, who founded Arts Meets Fashion and is now the owner of Greenspace Communities, understands what that truly means.
Oscar Jessie talks about how the change in his life is allowing him to change the lives of others when it comes to building and providing affordable housing.
For most people who know about you, they know about you for Art Meets Fashion. So, can you talk about like what inspired that? What made you want to start that?
Well, Arts Meet Fashion actually started when I was attending Paine College. It was part of the art program there. We started that to raise funds for the art program at Paine College. So, that actually ended up being a little bigger than we intended it to be, and we went ten-plus years with Art Meets Fashion, which combined both art with the fashion aspect in the actual program. So, it was great for the community. We had up to 700-plus people in attendance from the Marriott to Paine College to Augusta State. We did a few other venues at the time as well.
So, for people who never attended, like what was included? What exactly to that place when you were doing these?
So, again, with Art Meets Fashion, we combined the actual art aspect with the fashion aspect. So, when you talk about art, you have music, you have entertainment, you have poetry, and you have different artists coming in show between each fashion scene as well. We also had different artists coming in from across the country to actually participate in an actual fashion event as well. Different vendors such as Macy’s, Dillard’s, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and those type of companies as well also participated in the fashion event. So, it was a great experience, and it was a great way of bringing the community together at one time.
So, you have now pivoted a little bit. You’re now building homes with your company Greenspace Communities. What made you decide to make this pivot?
Well, prior to Art Meets Fashion, I was a realtor. A lot of people didn’t know I was an actual realtor. And so, I got my realtor’s license when I was 20 years old. So, I’ve been in the business now – I’m 42 – for 22 years. So, I started as a realtor. I was in the middle of being a realtor for at least eight years, and then, the market crashed. Then, we pivoted to Paine College and ended up with that, and now, we’re back making it happen.
So, how did you go from being a realtor – selling homes – to actually building homes and communities?
So just following the process and just following the actual leads as it relates to being in the real estate field. When I was there actually selling homes, I said to myself, “Hey, the individuals who actually build the homes are the ones who make a bigger difference.” Then, I start working as a contractor: putting on roofs, putting on drywall, and things of that nature. Then I said, “Well, these individuals make a huge difference, but the individuals who actually create the whole process, which is the actual real estate developer, are the ones who create a bigger difference.
What inspired the name of your company, Greenspace?
My initial aspect was is to create an environment or create communities that have reusable rainwater systems, solar panels, and to have an actual green community in which we’re still going to be looking to do here in the Augusta community. We want to create different neighborhoods that can actually provide substance, not just rainwater systems or solar panels, but just a green community all together.
How many units do you have so far?
Right now, we’re in Orchard Landing. We have built a total of 22 units. We have a total of 44 units that’s going to be built out in that particular community. Then, we will be moving to Aiken, which will have a total of 300 units.
How important is this for Augusta and the Augusta region?
Well, when you look at the amount of housing and the housing shortage that we have here in Augusta community, especially with the influx of individuals that we have coming here from cybersecurity, Plant Vogtle, SRS, and students coming in as well from Augusta State and different areas around the CSRA, providing housing for individuals is just a main basic need that individuals have. When you look at the pricing of homes, they starting to skyrocket. So, with me and my idea with the housing that I create, I try to provide individuals with a 10 to 20% below market value when it comes to providing homes for those individuals.
If people want to know more information about Greenspace Communities or they want to know more about you, how can they do so? How to get that information?