The Challenge

The Concordia University campus was located on a 22-acre site at 35th Street and IH-35. The size, location, and regulations of the site limited the University’s ability to expand both vertically and horizontally. In addition, the existing campus had significant deferred maintenance in most buildings, and the site did not allow for the required horizontal development needed to expand the University’s mission and increase student enrollment and educational programs. At the same time, construction costs were rising significantly and the University had limited cash, a limited fundraising track record, and limited debt service capacity, severely reducing the availability of suitable solutions. Time constraints would require the University to close on its new site without available funds at its disposal. Finally, there was the logistical challenge of relocating an entire university campus.

The Solution

AQUILA began by evaluating all options in order to find the best solution and optimize the mission of the University in a cost-effective manner. The team did extensive research, weighing whether to develop on the current site or to relocate to an alternate site. We then gathered our findings and presented a strategic plan recommending relocation.

AQUILA worked on both the acquisition/development project and the disposition of the existing site in parallel. Our team researched sites with existing infrastructure and presented viable solutions to University leadership. The team marketed the existing site nationally to other universities and users and, in order to mitigate risks, set the expectation amongst potential sellers of a requirement for simultaneous closes.

The Results

AQUILA located a site (“Schlumberger Site”) that provided over 100 developable acres plus 200 acres of preserve land and 200,000 square feet of existing buildings. The team was able to negotiate simultaneous disposition and acquisition of both sites with long due diligence time periods on both ends. Through negotiations, AQUILA increased disposition proceeds by over $6.5 million compared to the next best offer. The University obtained a record enrollment for the following school year and is currently expanding all programs to further increase its revenue and promote its mission.

This deal was named the 2007 Austin Business Journal Transaction of the Year.


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