CCIMs collaborate to help a nonprofit create a winning real estate strategy.
It often takes a team to cinch a commercial real estate deal, with each player bringing unique skills to the transaction. Over the years, Jane C. Doggett, CCIM, a broker with Highwoods Properties, and Carter Worthy, CCIM, broker/owner of Carter Worthy Commercial, have teamed up on many projects in Raleigh, N.C. Yet what's unique about this duo is that their efforts often involve sharing their time and commercial real estate skills to help improve the local community.
“Giving our knowledge is what it's all about,” Doggett says of their volunteer service for nonprofit projects such as SouthLight, a United Way-funded treatment facility whose mission is to help eliminate substance addiction and abuse.
The Raleigh-based organization owns several land parcels, including a 17,000-square-foot former A&P grocery on 6.8 acres. The deteriorat-ing building currently is SouthLight's primary administration and treatment center. In addition, the organization leases numerous local multifamily apartments for its residents.
As maintenance costs and rent increases piled up over the years, SouthLight needed to formulate a game plan for its real estate holdings. The board of directors determined it had three options: Repair the primary building and continue leasing apartments at several locations, sell its land and properties to purchase existing buildings and apartments elsewhere, or raze the structure and construct a new facility and apartments on its own land. Ultimately, the organization realized that analyzing these options required outside real estate expertise.
A long-time member of SouthLight's board, Doggett assembled a team of local professionals, including Worthy, to study the options. The team, which was comprised of multifamily, appraisal, brokerage, land-use, and design professionals, among others, donated more than 175 hours and approximately $17,000 in consulting fees. Doggett, who earned the CCIM designation in 2002, said her market and cost analysis skills were critical to the process. In addition, Worthy, who earned the designation in 1988, lent her vast development and brokerage expertise. The feasibility study determined “the best option for SouthLight was to implement a land-use maximization plan on their existing site,” Worthy says.
The multiphase project is expected to run about three to five years. “Right now it's in a silent fund-raising phase while a business plan is being formulated and existing leases expire,” Doggett says. “New apartments will be developed first and the new free-standing [administration and treatment] facility will be next.” Future expansion plans include a 24-hour day-care facility for residents' children. SouthLight expects to launch a public fund-raising campaign next year.
Doggett and Worthy currently are teaming up again on a local Habitat for Humanity project. Working with nonprofits allows these CCIMs to give back to their community, but also has other rewards: “Giving our knowledge to nonprofit groups can result in referrals and new business,” Doggett says.