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Lower East Side Tenement Museum
Consortium for Worker Education
$9.7 Million Tax-Exempt Bond
ThinkForward served as financial advisor from project conception through occupancy.
Worker Education Services
Property Acquisition & Renovation
Office space (9,476 sf)
$7.5 Million (acquisition)
$2.2 Million (renovation, FF&E)
Tax-exempt Limited Public Offering
Build NYC Resource Corporation
D. A. Davidson (bond underwriter)
Spacesmith LLP (architect)
The private, nonprofit agency Consortium for Worker Education (CWE) provides a wide array of workforce preparation, industry-specific training, and employment services for 70,000+ NYC workers every year. Union members, new Americans, and dislocated workers number among the populations served by this essential service provider.
Tens of thousands of unionized workers in varied economic sectors, including healthcare, construction, transportation, civil service, education, childcare, retail, and tourism, rely on the CWE for professional development instruction. The CWE is the workforce development arm of the NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
The NYC Council, NYS Department of Education, and NYS Legislature fund additional workplace training and job placement programming provided by CWE. Similarly, our client collaborates on numerous neighborhood-based initiatives focused on jobs creation—for example, the Jobs to Build On program (JtBO), sponsored by the Councils Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.
CWE has historically leased facilities for offices, classrooms, and other uses, typically under long-term arrangements. The organization has consistently achieved high-performance standards under tight budgetary constraints, all while complying with conservative government agency requirements for fiscal transparency and prudence.
Escalating rent for inefficient, outdated office space led CWE to consider buying (vs. leasing) for the first time in its 30-year history. Our client had initially approached a private bank specializing in unions. But, even with close connections to bank board members, the CWE couldn’t secure 100% financing for the acquisition of a 4th floor condominium at 305 7th Avenue in Manhattan. Also, because the appraisal and purchase prices were essentially the same, no additional funds could be borrowed for renovations.
Our client reconfigured their new space for optimal operational efficiency and upgraded at minimal cost. Ultimately, they experienced up to 33% reductions in occupancy costs per year for a modern, best-fit facility.
ThinkForward arranged for proceeds from tax-exempt bonds to be used to finance the acquisition and renovation. Favorable, fixed 30-year terms ensure that CWE can count on predictable occupancy costs from year to year.
ThinkForward went far beyond just arranging the transaction. They helped us at every project phase to make informed decisions, often providing us with side-by-side comparisons of our various options.