We like to remind folk that before we were asset managers, we were builders! And it’s bred in our bones - Wes Myles, our CEO and Co-Founder, was 21 when he led his first suburban subdivision development. We know the goal of any great real estate build is to create an asset that will at once appreciate in value and generate a sustained cash flow. The success of our Clifton Blake Income and Growth Fund is testimony to the successful execution of that strategy.
At Clifton Blake we provide development and construction management services to parties who either do not have the in-house expertise or who simply want to replicate our success. We know that to develop an asset that at once creates value and/or a sustained cash flow requires the coordinated efforts of a small army of professionals over three distinct phases of any opportunity.
Those Phases are:
Each phase is unique with its own collection of risks that have to be navigated. A further benefit of retaining Clifton Blake is that we understand the “capital stack” well. We have underwritten hundreds of millions of dollars of construction financing. We know what’s reasonable for our partners to bring to the table and how we will all exit a project successfully.
Before this phase officially begins one can presume that the “developer” or “asset manager” has at least a property in hand. The “property” can be anything - an open field, a derelict building, a collection of distinct lots, etc. What they all have in common is that each are identifiable parcels of land in which a person can take ownership. “Development” means the improvement of land to create value!
As land use is heavily regulated, Development Management is a process of proactively managing a project to achieve the local planning vision or objectives matched to consumer demand. Where a proposed development does not neatly fit within the local vision or objectives, then the developer needs to determine with the regulatory authority and the community what accommodations can be made to the proposed development to satisfy the planning objectives of the authority. The process is time consuming and arduous.
Once approvals are in hand, construction drawings can be completed, the budget is “fixed” and contracts are tendered. The development phase can take years to complete!
“Shovels in the ground!” The construction aspect of the project revolves around managing and coordinating the construction stage. Working with general contractors and subcontractors, the overall construction coordination often consists of aligning the functional interrelationships of parties to complete the project.
The developer is like a conductor of a symphony orchestra bringing the parties into the project in a coordinated fashion that results in the construction process. We move from an empty field, to earthwork (i.e., digging the hole), setting the building’s foundation, building construction (site utilities, framing, roofing, HVAC) followed by interior work like drywall, electrical, flooring, and finishes. Building on budget on time is the holy grail of construction management.
For projects with which Clifton Blake is involved, construction can be anywhere from 24 to 36 months.
A rental build is only worth its cash flow and a condo the sum of its sales! With the building complete, the developer now has to fill it or close on the presales earlier secured. This is where the proverbial rubber hits the road! Lease-up and/or closing is the last risk hurdle for the developer and its investors.
A lease up schedule for a residential project can vary from project to project. The developer needs to hit a 90% occupancy rate to secure traditional bank financing to pay out construction and lease up costs. Therefore it’s crucial that lease-up is accomplished in the shortest time possible. A “lease-up window” of six to twelve months is not uncommon, but is dependent on the project.
On a condominium project closing on “pre-sales” comes with its own panoply of risk.
Successfully closing pre-sales is an art of its own. At Clifton Blake we literally create wealth. The core assets of the Clifton Blake Income and Growth Fund LP has established a verifiable track record of bankable success that is exemplary of our capabilities.