January 23, 2020

Mayor calls home-grown housing developer “the American Dream in action”

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The word “Ascension” in the name of Siree Morris’s business is an accurate description of his life and career.

Morris runs Ascension Capital Partners and he and partner Ryan Curran recently broke ground for two, three-family apartments on City-owned vacant lots. The project is called “The Lofts on Avon” and Morris and Ryan put ceremonial shovels in the ground with Mayor Ras Baraka and South Ward Councilman John Sharpe James.

“Affordable housing is a central issue and primary focus of my administration,” said Mayor Baraka. “Our groundbreaking measures like the Affordable Housing Ordinance and projects like this one are making the American dream of home ownership a reality for many Newark residents.”

As part of that focus on affordable housing, the Mayor hopes for home-grown developers to invest their City and that is exactly what he got with Siree Morris.

“One of the major developers in this project, Siree Morris, himself represents the American dream in action,” Baraka said. “He is a Newark native who excelled in sports and school, and has now returned to his birthplace to give back and pay it forward, to help us create a more equitable, collaborative, and empowered Newark.”

A graduate of University High, Morris was an All-American high school basketball star who, at one time, had the Mayor as a coach. Morris, 36, went on to graduate from Rutgers with a degree in engineering and put his education to work in the field of infrastructure projects in land development.

“The Mayor was my high school basketball coach,” Morris said in an interview last year. “He put me in a position to follow my dream. It’s an example of fruits coming to bear, the circle of life coming back around.”

He returned to Newark, and shared the Mayor’s vision of seeing re-development of Newark neighborhood by Newarkers. In 2014, he met the Mayor and discussed his idea of affordable, multi-family housing made from shipping containers.

“This is a very important milestone in my career,” Morris said. “It is important for me to be an example for my community. I want us to act on the endless opportunities and influence that real estate affords. The only way to preserve our community is to own it.”

Ascension Capital Partners, owned by Morris and Curran, lives the dream of urban revitalization through quality housing and enhancing the value of each asset.

The partners’ next housing development will be “The Michael,” on Mr. Morris’s childhood block on Astor Street. The development’s name honors Mr. Morris’s late brother Michael Morris. He is also developing the City’s first multi-family shipping container home, just as he told the Mayor six years ago.

- Newark News