The Ramping Up

Central ramps up then tragety strikes

The Ramping Up

Central Spaulding Ramp Up

The first press release that went out on Beach Booster Radio was quickly followed by television, radio and print interviews.  The region was electric!  I am used to being the one that has a vision and locks themselves into their room to do the work until it is done.  Never had I been in a position where I communicated a vision and an entire community lifted me in the air and propelled me at a greater speed than imaginable towards the inevitable goal.  It was quite awe inspiring, encouraging, empowering and humbling all at the same time. 


At the time, Ministers of Parliament, Venture Capatalists, and Banking Executives all contacted me and the press wanted to help get the word out as loud as possible. The entire process moved as fast as I could think.  All of the right people surfaced at the right time to set the project to flight.  We were onto something extra-ordinary!


The next step was determining the price tag on the Central High School property, but the Realtor in charge of the listing could not give me an immediate answer. In the meantime, I continued to rally the troupes and ready fund-raising strategies, facility management strategies and a variety of other moving parts that were required to be in place for a successful project.  I communicated with two not for profit companies to help us raise funds for the kids in forms of scholarships and bursaries. I also quickly connected with the financial partners needed to secure the asset and prepare renovations. 


An entire month passed and I still did not have a price for the property.  By the second month I pressed further with specific strategic partners and was finally able to get a general “order of magnitude” number of roughly $12 million to get the project started. With that, we commenced plans to run concerts as musicians across the world desiring to help raise funds to impact the next generations through the new School of The Arts.  We setup plans for fund-raising galas, dances and on and on.  All that was needed next was the final timeline of when the bidding process would begin for the school. As we ramped up, I lay waiting for final news so that I could complete our project timelines. 

Now here is where things get complicated.

After roughly three months of waiting with no news from the board or the realtor as to when the bidding process would open, I finally received a voice message from the realtor.  The punchline was that I had exactly 3.5 weeks to come up with a firm $12 million offer and required a $70 000 up-front payment to join the bidding process.  So now it was “really on”. 

I partially felt as though this aggressive timeline and high price tag was intended to create a barrier to entry and force us out of the bidding process right from the start. However, I gave the selling parties the benefit of the doubt and powered forward. While we had to quickly shift our tactics, my team was up to the task. Running concerts, galas and other events would be far too slow to raise $12 million in 3 weeks.  The only option on such a short timeline would be to aggressively find venture capital to fund the process. And that we did!


Within 10 days I had secured three groups of investors that would be able to fund the school acquisition and renovation in its entirety.  It was quite awe inspiring to watch these powerhouses step up to the plate. 

Investor 1:
The first investment came from a pair of local investors whom combined could cough up the first $12 million to secure the real-estate asset.  Future funds would be raised to renovate the space and bring the building up-to-date.


Investor 2:
The second investment came from a very well-respected local investor that also offered up roughly $10 million given that I could produce a well sustainable business plan. He did communicate with me that while he is never the “first check” on a project, he prides himself in being the “last check”.  Therefore, I knew I could not rely on his funds to start the process.


Investor 3:
The third investment came from a very large international investor who normally moved quantities of funds far greater than this small project.  They regularly invest in projects that start over the 50 million dollar mark, but they were willing to get started at the $12 million and work toward the further expenses of renovation and business development.  It was going to take a number of weeks before he could move the needed funds into Canada. 

Investor 4:                                                                                                                                                              There was also a fourth facility investor ready to gut the old HVAC system as it needed to be replaced and possibly help with other facility improvements as well. 

As the process continued and the first day of bidding drew nearer, I readied the required non-disclosure as looking forward to entering into the bidding process knowing that I had the project funded three times over.  It was my hope and plan to synchronize all of the investors and either have them work together on different aspects of the project, or work with one specific individual as all of our comfort levels and relationships grew deeper. 
T

hen tragedy hit!

48 hours before the bidding process was set to begin, one of the partners of the first investor backed out last minute.  The partner that backed out was the larger of the two partners, meaning we lost majority of the funding. This put the second partner in a position where he was helpless to facilitate!


My heart sank. 

I was relying on this first investor to provide the $70k required to enter into the bidding process as the second investor was never the “first check” and the third investor needed more lead time to get the needed funds into the country.  

I called one of my lawyers and asked if he had connections to bridge the difference for me as a loan and as I expected, he delivered!  Within 12 hours he had a person ready to fund the bidding capital needed.  I thought long and hard about this decision but decided to not pull the trigger because I didn’t want to start the entire process in heavy debt before we even started.  I strongly believe in sustainable business models and if something is to truly happen, it should fund itself to the best of its ability.

 
So now with tens of thousands of people behind our project, 50+ people in a collaborative leadership group (supporting the project) and 12 executive leadership professionals, we had all had to put the project on hold.  Things ground to a screeching halt. But the game was not over.


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Part 1: The Beginning
Part 2: The Ramp Up
Part 3: Raising The Octane
Part 4: Getting Real
Part 5: Not For Profit
Part 6: Next Steps
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