Magazine article Ebony

A Southern California Showplace: Real Estate Developer Sharon Sumpter Highlights Traditional Furnishings in Her Elegant Home

Magazine article Ebony

A Southern California Showplace: Real Estate Developer Sharon Sumpter Highlights Traditional Furnishings in Her Elegant Home

Article excerpt

As a child growing up in rural Orangeburg, S.C., Sharon Sumpter often busied herself building tree houses while other girls played with dolls. She saw cleared fields as potential neighborhoods designed with her own touch.

Her dream rarely wavered. Sure, there were times when she toyed with the idea of being a doctor or lawyer, but she always came back to the idea of land and building. "I thought about other careers, but there was this burning desire in my belly to see things erected and to somehow participate in how communities and cities develop and grow," she says. "And I've had a love affair with architecture and seeing things change over time."

Sumpter attended the University of Wisconsin, where she received undergraduate and graduate degrees in urban regional planning. She studied abroad in Europe and Africa and then landed a job with a major engineering firm in the planning department. "I knew that real estate development was for me," she says, "because I learned that land is the only commodity or element that we can't move or reproduce."

Now in her 40s, the single mother moved to Los Angeles in the 1990s, just as that market's real estate industry hit rock-bottom. She persevered and now is executive vice president of the Bedford Group, a highly respected development company. Among Sumpter's major achievements at the company was developing a project that included 172 condominiums and featured 9,500 square feet of mixed-use development.

The project is situated near Sumpter's home in the elegant View Park section of Los Angeles, a hillside community that is home for a number of Black professionals. She shares her two-level home with her 10-year-old daughter, Najah Sumpter-Diop.

Najah, whose father is from Senegal, attends a French academy in Los Angeles, and is fluent in French and Spanish. "I don't speak French, but I understand it," Sumpter explains. …

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