MIO Pre-School Graduates from Tenant to Owner with SBA 504 Loan from TMC Financing

Educator Teresa Blea has always known she wanted to work with children. She didn’t realize that that passion would lead her to become a successful business owner and proud San Francisco property owner. The SBA 504 Program helped Blea purchase a property with 90% financing and a below-market rate, fixed for 25 years. Blea now enjoys peace of mind knowing her occupancy costs are stable and her business’ future is secure.

A third-generation native of San Francisco, Blea studied for an elementary school teaching credential but had a diverse teaching career. After working with community college-affiliated daycare programs and at San Mateo School District, she decided she wanted to lead a daycare center of her own.

That was 20 years ago. Since then, Blea has helped hundreds of families from all around the Bay Area raise curious, healthy, independent kids.

MIO Pre-School Realizes that Building Purchase is within Reach

Being a lasting part of the community was always important to Blea, but she never realized that purchasing a building for MIO Pre-School was within reach. However, when the building that MIO Pre-School was leasing went up for sale, Blea researched options and realized that a building purchase was possible.

Turns out, the building they were leasing had code violations, so while waiting for the current owner to manage code fixes, MIO Pre-School made what Blea thought was a temporary move. Teachers, parents, and kids alike soon fell in love with the beautiful new grounds, and Blea realized that’s where they wanted to stay.

Luckily, their new location also went up for sale. Blea knew she had to make the purchase happen. The biggest question was “How?”

Conventional lending required a high down payment and was difficult to obtain due to the pandemic. Blea worried that it would be impossible to secure funding on the timeline she needed. In search of an answer – looking for “someone who would work with us” – she discovered TMC Financing.

From the start, it was obvious that the SBA 504 loan program, facilitated by TMC Financing, was the perfect option for MIO Pre-School.

With SBA 504 Financing and Down Payment Assistance, MIO Was Ready to Grow

SBA 504 loans, administered by Certified Development Companies (CDC) such as TMC Financing, offer fixed, below-market interest rates for business owners who want to buy, renovate, or refinance an owner-occupied property.

Kurt Chambliss, EVP of TMC Financing

“The SBA 504 Program offers the best terms on the market,” explains Kurt Chambliss, TMC Financing’s executive vice president who navigated the SBA 504 Process for Blea. “It offers only 10% down and a below-market rate fully amortized in 25 years with no balloon payment. There are no surprises to worry about. Business owners can get the funding they need while retaining precious working capital.”

Low down payments are one of the most attractive features of the SBA 504 loan. Blea, along with most business owners, qualified for 90% financing. The upheaval of the pandemic had thrown long-term parent relationships into doubt though, and it wasn’t clear whether MIO Pre-School could afford to make the payment.

The Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) dedicated to serving low-income people and communities, stepped in to help. LIIF provided a Capital New Development Grant through their Child Care Facilities Fund program that covered the down payment needed to acquire the building. LIIF was able to provide these funds through a partnership with the San Francisco Office of Early Education.

At the core of LIIF’s mission is the commitment to alleviate poverty and help families attain economic self-sufficiency. Pre-school helps growing children prepare for higher educational attainment; working with MIO was a natural fit, and 100% down payment from LIIF helped leverage the acquisition.

MIO Has a Bright Future in Its New Home

With a long-term, stable operating location, Blea has complete control of future occupancy costs. Funding the $2.2 million purchase of 2235 Mission Street in San Francisco was seamless, thanks to the help from TMC Financing.

“The first goal was always to make sure MIO could keep running,” Blea recalls. “It hadn’t occurred to me to purchase the building until our building went up for sale. Looking back, buying was the best move.

“We’re stable. We don’t have to move because somebody’s selling our building or because of rent increases. We are a permanent part of the community now.”

MIO Preschool purchases building with SBA 504 Program
MIO Preschool purchases building with SBA 504 Program from TMC Financing

2235 Mission Street is the most popular space MIO Pre-School has ever been in. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s more accessible to everyone. “Families love it, and we’re right in the heart of everything.” Blea credits TMC Financing as a major part of her successful purchase:

“Working with TMC Financing has been amazing. Everyone is so helpful and patient. It was a long process, but it was seamless. The communication between everyone was great.”

MIO just celebrated another big milestone: Its first class just graduated from college.

Contact us today to learn more about the SBA 504 loan.


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