The Same Old Conundrum…
Once again I find myself struggling with a great development project concept, and no way to fund the first steps that are needed to bring it to fruition. As my good friend Joe Barker (many of you know him too!) used to say when he was getting ready to launch one of his many good ideas, “I need some ‘walkin’around’ money”. What Joe meant was that in order to advance that good idea there was some seed money needed to test its feasibility. In development terms, there are soft costs that need to be raised in order to perform the due diligence required to determine if the project costs can be justified. These include costs related but are not limited to: surveying, engineering, architectural and design services, legal, environmental analysis, feasibility studies, etc.
So here I am working on plans to develop Phase II of the Braxton Technology Center, and I’m trying to figure out how to pay for my upfront costs. I don’t know what I would do without the graciousness of our architect who constantly defers payment until I can figure out how to pay for his work! Now that I have that resolved, (and by that I mean I’m leaning on him again to give up his time to help me) I need to locate funds to pay for the feasibility planning for the proposed end use. I’m sure I will muddle through—but, it would be nice to see a clear cut path for obtaining the resources for this phase of the project. Architects, engineers, and other professionals should not have to wait months and sometimes years for payment until project funding is secured.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta used to have a program that helped to defray predevelopment costs on projects of a qualifying nature. Those costs were advanced and then recaptured through its community development financing programs. To my knowledge this program doesn’t exist anymore. And I am not aware of anything in West Virginia to address the issue. If we want quality development projects, and we want more of them, it is going to take a concerted effort to address this problem. I’ve talked about this for years—I know some of you are tired of hearing me! I’m tired of talking—let’s do something! Anybody else interested? Contact me.