While searching for properties to convert into affordable housing, Richard Rubin and Chris Potterpin of Repvblik, a Los Angeles-based firm, found themselves in Branson looking at a run-down Days Inn. Two years later, the affordable housing complex now known as Plato’s Cave is almost completely leased with a few more phases still on the horizon.
Having lived in southwest Missouri for a time, Rubin recognizes the need Branson has for ample affordable housing, especially with the influx of J-1 workers in peak seasons. “Workforce housing continues to be a critical need locally,” says Jonas Arjes, Executive Vice President/Chief Economic Development Officer Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce & CVB. “As we continue to have more jobs than people to fill them, even during a pandemic, we have to have adequate inventory for people to live while they are here to work full-time or seasonally.”
From a city perspective, Rubin says that utilizing otherwise vacant properties makes economical sense. “[You’ve got] hardworking folks who can’t afford to get onto the housing ladder because they’ve been priced out of the market,” he says. “That’s probably the biggest market in the country.” Not only does this business model help create a solution for a growing housing problem, but it creates jobs and encourages additional investments nearby.