Thomas Bevan is a graduate planning student at the University of British Columbia. He reached out recently and introduced me to social purpose real estate. Thomas’ perspective on the topic is very intriguing. So I said let’s get a guest post up and share your story! Check out his work below and also here.
Social Purpose Real Estate: Solving the Space Problem of Not-for-Profits.
Social Purpose Real Estate aims to balance social and economic impacts to find the most appropriate use of land, rather than maximizing the profit potential through the highest and best use.
Not-for-profit groups often rent space for their operations in lower income areas of the city, assisting individuals who are in the largest need. However, as rental rates for space in these areas increase in sync with market demand and revitalization efforts, these groups may be forced to relocate to more distant locations, away from the organization’s client base.
One solution is for not-for-profits to convert their leases into mortgage payments, which can help ensure the financial sustainability of the organization. By owning a real estate asset, the space that these groups occupy is secure from redevelopment that is not in line with the mission of the organization.
The problem is that buying and managing real estate is complicated. It requires many new responsibilities that organizations new to the real estate industry may be unfamiliar with. As part of my Master of Planning degree at the University of British Columbia, I worked with Vancity Credit Union and students from the Vancouver Film School to produce a short video, interviewing local real estate professionals and exploring three key lessons of social purpose real estate.