What is The Barker?
The vision for The Barker is luxury apartments + a built-in dog rescue. Luxury because we want these to be smart apartments for fosters and their furry guests – smart drains, sound proof flooring… a place that promotes well-being for all. This benefits the dogs as well as keeps the human’s fostering efforts sustainable… it keeps them on the ball to better show up and serve across the board. By being a desirable and uniquely noteworthy destination, we will get buzz and tourists… and keep the money flowing in.
Is this a real apartment?
No, this is not real… yet! We are in the concept and planning stages. At this point we are envisioning an apartment complex. There may be laws around discriminating against “non-fosters,” etc. Thus, we will consider these laws and look at all of the states we wish to build in. We will also look at co-ops, condos, etc, if we need to.
Where will the first one be built?
The initial idea is California. California is the #2 state when it comes to the number of animals killed per year. Texas is #1, and thus on our list as a possible location for The Barker. Additionally, Florida, North Carolina and Georgia are under consideration as they are #3, #4, and #5, respectively.
Is there a market for this?
Yes. The love of dogs is a recession-proof business. First trends were reporting the “humanization” of pets, and now it’s beyond humanization whereby dogs are part of “a lifestyle.” Boomers and millennials are the main culprits. The former has an empty nest to fill, and the latter was the first generation to experience the humanization of pets as they grew up.
How will you get the money?
The first stage will be crowdfunding. In order to crowd fund, we need a crowd. After proof of concept with crowdfunding, we will get “owners” for this property — that is, investors who will earn part of the building depending on amount invested.
How much money do you need?
Well, in sitting down with an architect and project engineer and describing my Vegas-hotel-will-envy idea for The Barker, the budget was $150 million. Now we are working on a budget for a minimum viable building, which will be a tenth of that, or less.
Will there be more than one?
The initial idea is that once we come up with all the plans, we will make them open source (free), meaning anyone who want to build a Barker building can. However, as investors come on, this may change to a franchise model, or something else.
Is this a nonprofit?
The initial idea is that this is a FOR PROFIT apartment building. The money that we get for rent, storefronts, etc, will keep this model sustainable. However, there are benefits to setting this up as a for profit plus a non profit — like how McDonald’s has the Ronald McDonald House. This way the rescue component can benefit from being a non profit and the building can run for profit. We are also entertaining the idea that the rescue component in The Barker could be an established local rescue. They could have space in The Barker and all of our tenants would be pre-approved to foster.
Will this only be about fostering?
No. There will be educational pieces as well. Over three million dogs enter US shelters each year and about half are killed. Even in “no kill” shelters where they won’t kill a healthy animal, animals are deemed unhealthy for behavioral reasons, sometimes quite unfairly. Public education will be part of the equation – spay/neuter, adopt don’t shop, and the importance of dog training will be some of the topics covered. Resident education will focus on education the people and training for dogs. We also plan to have a transport van that select residents will be approved to drive. Another key piece is that we will be in a position to absorb large batches of rescue dogs — be it from the meat trade, natural disasters, or puppy mill raids.
How can I help?
The easiest way to help is to sign up for our email list and encourage others (appropriate others) to as well. We are in the pre-crowd funding phase whereby we are building our crowd.
You can also contact us with your ideas and we will be happy to collaborate with you.
We have a private Behind the Scenes Facebook Group with 100% transparency (including screw ups, like when Jes showed up to the architecture school event a day late) and weekly updates. The members of the group are encouraged to share all of their biggest and boldest ideas.
If you don’t want to get behind the scenes but want to follow us on social, we’re on: