Coventry PEACE Inc. has built Coventry PEACE Campus into a viable operation with a clear vision. Here is some background on what CPC’s leaders have accomplished, while also steering our own organizations through the pandemic.
Where things stand
For 15 months, CPC has operated under a temporary lease that was specifically designed to convert to a 99-year lease on January 1, 2022. We have met all of the Library’s requirements for the conversion outlined in the current agreement. The first indication that anything was amiss came less than two weeks ago, when we were informed that a Library board subcommittee had voted 2-1 against proceeding with the long-planned conversion. We have asked for specifics about the benchmarks that the Library expected to see, but have not received a response.
Meanwhile, our all-volunteer staff has been working on:
- growing and stabilizing our board
- finalizing an amended code of regulations
- researching and planning for a large-scale HVAC project
- organizing outreach events
- working with current tenants to secure commitments to long-term leases with increased space obligations and/or higher rent rates
- negotiating with several prospective long-term tenants
- securing short-term agreements to supplement revenue
- overseeing interior building improvements
- organizing numerous documents required by the Library to finalize the transition to the 99-year lease.
Positive cash flow & reserves
Coventry PEACE Inc. enters 2022 with $43,041.86 in the bank. Our projections show net positive cash flow in each of the next nine years and an accumulated reserve of $1,023,357.
Rent and occupancy
Tenants paid $133,022.66 in rent to CPC in 2021. CPC in turn:
- Covered nearly $128,000 in building expenses
- Paid $5,500 in rent and $107,426 in utility fees to the Library
Current tenants alone will pay $144,999 in 2022.
Three current tenants are poised to expand if the Library Board approves the long-term lease. Artful will expand by 40%, Future Heights by 20%, and Reaching Heights by 10%, bringing the building occupancy rate up to 60%, above the breakeven point. We will continue to add tenants and expect the occupancy rate to rise to 70% in year 2 and 87% in year 4.
CPC has signed letters of intent/term sheets from all current tenants for leases in 2022 with a combined average rental rate of $7 per square foot, a significant increase from three years ago.
CPC recently welcomed two new long-term tenants: Singers Club of Cleveland in July, and Grace Communion Cleveland in September. We also have several short-term agreements with Studio Institute, Lakeshore Aikido, and Pick-Up Stix, and all three have expressed interest in long-term leases in 2022. In addition, we have Sherri Skedel, Family Therapist; Dobama Theatre; and University Heights Symphonic Band in the building on short-term agreements.
CPC raised $12,766 in 2021, and is planning new events and campaigns for 2022. We have been informed by major funders, including the Cleveland Foundation, that the long-term lease must be in place before we can raise funds for our planned capital projects like handicap accessibility improvements, roof repairs and solar panel installations.
IFF, a Community Development Financing Institution (CDFI) that worked with us on the Feasibility Analysis in January 2020, has committed to providing technical assistance in qualifying for a loan for facility improvement.
Our proposal budgets regular maintenance at $12,000/year, well above the average maintenance costs for the recent past of $9,500/year. The accumulated reserve from rents and fundraising would be accessed for major repairs or improvements. CPC will pay $10,000 toward the impending HVAC repairs, and $10,000 per year to the library until the debt is resolved.
Benefits of converting CPC lease
Coventry PEACE Inc. has demonstrated its ability to manage this complex project, even through unprecedented times. With the stability of a long-term lease, the tenant organizations can thrive, continue to enrich the community and incubate new nonprofits aligned with the vision and with the 100-year history of this unique location.
Finally, it’s important to understand that there is no Plan B. If the Library board refuses to grant the long-term lease, the tenants’ current leases will convert to month-to-month (at lower rents than under a long-term lease). No business, nonprofit or for profit, can operate indefinitely amid such instability. As the building empties, the Library will be on the hook for all costs and work currently covered by the tenants and the building will stand as a 60,000-square-foot daily reminder of what could have been.
Find out more.
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What is Coventry PEACE Campus?
When the school district sought to divest itself from the former Coventry Elementary School building in 2017, leaving its future uncertain, the leaders of all the tenant organizations and a broad base of community supporters came together in a grassroots movement to propose ways to preserve and grow the thriving culture and service ecosystem that had organically taken root there. From this effort, the Coventry PEACE Campus came into being. Coventry P.E.A.C.E., Inc. is the non-profit overseeing the maintenance, sustainability, renovation and development of the Coventry PEACE Building, which houses several local nonprofits. It is our goal to provide an accessible, sustainable, more efficient, and affordable home for these nonprofits, and to attract new organizations to the building.