Social Purpose Real Estate or Impact Development is a burgeoning field that comes in many shapes and sizes. We define this field as real estate with a greater purpose or mission than simply maximizing profit. Some kinds of social purpose real estate have long been established, like low income housing, libraries, or schools, while other components of the field are just beginning to emerge. Particularly of interest to NCN is affordable commercial space, which allows nonprofit organizations to serve their communities in the best ways possible.
To help foster the field of Social Purpose Real Estate, NCN conducts research and takes on targeted consulting engagements.
In 2014, NCN began a partnership with Denver Shared Spaces and the Mile High Community Loan Fund to research how Colorado nonprofit organizations are addressing their space needs, as the real estate market heats up in Denver and the surrounding areas. Read the preliminary report here:
NCN has translated its many years of experience with feasibility studies for nonprofit centers into an approach for community oriented facilities planning. Our method combines targeted facilitation with the end users of the space with structured cost estimates and financial planning to help groups evaluate their facilities options.
NCN can also advise projects that are interested in maximizing their community impact through real estate on an as needed basis through our coaching practice. Because of our nature as a convener, we are able rally a wide range of expertise for your project.
NCN has had the opportunity to work with B’nai Havurah, a Denver Jewish Reconstructionist community on a Facility Feasibility Study this fall. NCN is leading a team to evaluate four options to help B’nai Havurah’s facility better meet its organizational vision and mission. We are assessing the feasibility of (1) a renovation of the current site, (2) a demolition and new build at the current site, (3) sale of the current site and acquisition of a new site, or (4) a shared space option with another house of worship. Our process involves facilitating multiple conversations with the congregation about its desires and constraints, its decision-making process and its financial objectives. The project was completed on time and on budget.
NCN worked with a government agency to help them create a policy to allocate low-cost space to nonprofits, in a way that matches community needs with nonprofit services. While they aren’t planning to create nonprofit centers, components of this process involve designing a mechanism for ongoing community feedback, selecting qualified tenants, identifying the right levels of subsidies, and developing a process for ongoing reporting and accountability. In this coaching arrangement, we are meeting regularly with our client to apply the lessons learned from many years of creating and securing affordable commercial real estate across North America.