Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Civic Builders :: Solutions :: For Schools

Civic Builders :: Solutions :: For Schools
A Turnkey SolutionFor charter school administrators unfamiliar with the complexities of New York's complicated real estate environment and development process, Civic Builders' skills and expertise are multifold. By taking over the myriad real estate activities for a start-up charter school, Civic minimizes uncertainty and bears much of the risk associated with real estate acquisition, design, and construction. In doing so, Civic's turnkey solution substantially reduces a school’s occupancy costs and frees dollars and staff time – once diverted from curriculum and programming – for the direct work of education. By offering a "one stop shop" for a charter school's facilities needs, Civic increases the likelihood that school administrators will launch successfully and meet the academic and financial goals necessary for charter renewal.
Needs AnalysisAlthough school administrators launching a new charter school may well understand their educational needs, translating these into facility requirements can be a complex process. Civic works closely with schools to assess their capacity and design parameters.
Site AnalysisOnce basic needs are determined, Civic also plays a major role in potential site analysis and selection.
Neighborhood ReviewWith its deep understanding of a number of New York neighborhoods – their educational needs, capacity constraints, institutional and geographical characteristics and market conditions (rents, availability of existing public and private space, etc.) – Civic can help a school focus on appropriate locations and promising sites.
Building Due DiligenceAfter identifying potential buildings, Civic undertakes a rigorous review of the site, including:
- Physical plant inspections- Structural, environmental, and geotechnical review and tests- Zoning and other "allowable use" requirements- Owner and tenant status- Appraisal- School/program test-fit or program review for site- Establishing construction schedule and budget- Review of past violations and filings
FinancingCivic Builders' role as a financial intermediary with extensive real estate experience provides access to debt from lenders typically unavailable to charter schools. By reducing a charter school's perceived risk to investors, Civic Builders also improves the cost of all capital, commercial and philanthropic. Civic assists charter schools with every stage of requisite funding and deal negotiation.
PurchaseCivic Builders undertakes the entire lift of structuring the purchase of a site or facility. As many buildings or lots are owned by private individuals operating outside the norms of the real estate industry, the process of coming to terms of a purchase price and structuring a deal can be quite convoluted and irregular. Civic's experience with these types of players and deals enhances the ability to negotiate good deals and investigate all facets of the purchase, including:
- Negotiating purchase price and payment terms- Structuring tax incentives- Settling all other terms of purchase contract
DesignOnce a site has been identified, the design process commences with a goal towards building a quality structure that can be constructed cost effectively and quickly and that is ultimately an inspiring place for students to learn and a cornerstone of a community. This process includes:
- Detailed review of specific educational needs (see "Needs Analysis": link to section above)- Architect screening and selection- Development of design documents- Rigorous value engineering of design and construction methods- Managing the review process (with necessary city, state and federal agencies)
ConstructionEven the most seasoned real estate developers experience unforeseen problems during construction and renovation, including delays, unforeseen building/site conditions, and change orders. On behalf of the charter school, Civic therefore manages the entire construction process, including the work of:
- Contractor screening and selection- Contractor contract negotiation- Permitting and expediting- Meticulous project management of the contractor and construction processes to ensure that the project is completed on time and on budget
For a more detailed analysis of these development stages, see, "The Development Process: Managing Risk and Complexity"

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