The Goddard School of Tustin: Building a Brand-New Facility with an SBA 504 Loan
Abhijit Patel says, “The keys to business success are to believe in your mission, surround yourself with experienced partners, be open to lessons, and have fun in the process, because it’s all worth it.” It’s great advice for entrepreneurs and essential as he and his business partners move forward on a significant project: Ground-up construction of their new preschool, The Goddard School of Tustin, scheduled to open in early 2024.
A dream business years in the making
Abhijit and his wife, Preeti, own the school and when it opens, Preeti will be the onsite operator. Abhijit and two additional business partners, Jasmin Patel and Jesal Mehta, will support day-to-day operations. Their multi-phase project included first securing the Tustin-based franchise of The Goddard School.
They also had to secure the land lease, which Abhijit explains was complex due to multiple federal, state, and local military and government entities that oversee the property.
“I think a lot of people would have thrown in the towel at this point,” Abhijit says, “because our lease alone is 140 pages long and took several attorneys to review.”
An SBA 504 loan through TMC provides essential financing
The next step was to secure financing for construction of the new school, which is licensed to enroll up to 220 students.
The Goddard School franchisor includes Live Oak Bank among preferred lenders and for SBA 504 deals, TMC Financing is a recommended certified development company (CDC) partner. Shortly after contacting Live Oak, the bank put The Goddard School at Tustin team in touch with Jennifer Davis, TMC’s Senior Vice President, Business Development.
The Goddard School at Tustin team first started this journey about five years ago and in the time since – with the pandemic, increased costs for construction materials and labor, and rising interest rates – the budget increased significantly. Despite the challenges, including increased project costs, Jennifer and TMC worked with Abhijit’s team and Live Oak to move the project forward.
“Between the time we started this project and the time we closed on the financing, our project costs increased by about 30-40%,” Abhijit admits. “And with costs rising throughout the project, we had to constantly tweak our business plan and proformas. But in the end, TMC and our bank came through for us, they made it happen.”
The SBA 504 program’s low down payment seals the deal
For projects like this – ground-up construction and equipment for the finished property – conventional commercial lenders typically require a significant down payment: a minimum of 30% is typical and it can be as high as 40%, which Abhijit admits would have killed the project.
“We looked at terms from other lenders because that’s the wise thing to do, but nothing compared to what TMC could do for us with an SBA 504 loan,” Abhijit says. “The SBA 504 program’s down payment requirement alone would have clinched the deal for us, because it was 15%, whereas other lenders would have required much more. Anything more than 15% would have broken our business model.”
For this type of deal, in addition to the down payment, the partnering bank finances 50% of the project cost and TMC finances 35%. In addition to ground-up construction, their financing includes equipment for the school and operations. SBA 504 deals financed through TMC can include SBA-guaranteed financing up to $5 million, with no predetermined limit on the overall project cost.
Experience counts: TMC provides more than just financing
Abhijit says that the entire experience was positive. “As a team, we had some previous experience with SBA 504 loans, so we knew to expect a lot of documentation and thorough review of our plans and financials,” he says. “But with a project of this size and scope, you always run into setbacks and questions. I had Jennifer on speed-dial and no matter what we ran into, she was always available to help us and guide the process. That kind of experience and responsiveness is invaluable.”
The team broke ground on the site in spring 2023 and their TMC loan officer, Jennifer, was there to celebrate the day with them.
TMC provides SBA 504 loans to businesses in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon
Abhijit says, “The experience that TMC brings to the table is irreplaceable. On top of that, Jennifer and the team were a pleasure to work with and it was a great experience all around.”
If your business is located in TMC Financing’s service area of California, Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon, contact us to find out more and to get started with the SBA 504 loan program. And if your business is located outside of our service area, try the SBA’s Lender Match tool to find a qualified certified development company (CDC) lending partner near you.
About TMC Financing
Founded in 1981, TMC Financing is the leading provider of SBA 504 commercial real estate loans in the nation, funding projects worth over $12 billion across Arizona, California, Nevada, and Oregon. Over 6,000 businesses have benefited from this financing, resulting in the creation of an estimated 60,000 jobs. Contact us today to learn more.