AQUILA Has Supported and Empowered Our Nonprofit Clients for Over Ten Years
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When you work with AQUILA, you are getting more than a commercial real estate partner – you are getting a whole team of advocates for your mission.
AQUILA Contributes to Various Local Organizations
Since Hope Alliance’s first thought to expand and relocate our services to a larger facility, Dustin Hogzett and Todd Tebbe from AQUILA Commercial, LLC have been with us every step of the way. After a relatively short period of time, they’ve helped us fine tune our goals, objectives and tactics as to how to reach our goals. Without the knowledge and care provided by Dustin, Todd and AQUILA, Hope Alliance would still be just talking about what would be nice to have. Because of Dustin, Todd and Aquila, we’ve launched a capital campaign, purchased land, have architectural renderings of a 40,000 sq. ft. building and believe we will be in a new building and providing more services by the end of 2023. Dustin, Todd and Aquila are helping Hope Alliance’s dreams come true so we can serve 100% of the unmet needs of victims of Family Violence and/or Sexual Assault in Williamson County, TX.”Dr. Rick Brown, CEO, Hope Alliance
Building Hope and Healing for Victims of Violence in Central Texas
In 2019, Hope Alliance began a search for a larger facility. They knew that AQUILA’s project management team had worked with Any Baby Can (another nonprofit organization) and had helped that organization receive a grant to go toward their new HQ project. Hope Alliance contacted Dustin Hogzett and Todd Tebbe at AQUILA in 2019 and told them about his plans for Hope Alliance. The organization’s ultimate goal is to build a Hope Center, a multi-agency center that will combine shelter and counseling services under one roof. Hope Alliance’s multi-agency center will be the first of its type in Central Texas and only the fourth of its type in the entire state of Texas.
After having some difficulties with land Hope Alliance already owned, AQUILA decided the best approach would be to find land exactly where Hope Alliance wanted to be and purchase it. They found an 11.5-acre site in Leander, TX that was a great spot to safely serve Hope Alliance’s clients and also allow for future expansion. Hope Alliance’s Board of Directors knew they had to raise a significant amount of money for the land and development but after too many years of waiting for this moment, they knew it was time to act.
Everything was going well and our next step was to seek a zoning change through the City of Leander Planning Department. This would require several rounds of review and approvals from the City Council. In order to get a zoning change for the land, AQUILA and Hope Alliance both went in front of the City Council to plead our case and secure votes. Because the site was close to a neighborhood, members of a Homeowners Association fought vigorously against Hope Alliance. Some members of the group even tried to convince the council that Hope Alliance was housing criminals. This public aggression continued on for several months and our final reading and vote were delayed because of a City Council and Mayoral election.
Ultimately, it came down to a vote by Leander City Council. If the vote for the zoning change didn’t pass, Hope Alliance’s multi-agency center was likely never going to come to fruition. When the final votes were cast, the zoning change passed by a 6 to 1 favorable vote.
Over the next several months, AQUILA commercial and the design team have established the preliminary budget and schedule as well as produced the conceptual site plan which has been approved by the City of Leander Planning Department. The current schedule has construction slated to begin in Q1 of 2023 with an anticipated completion date of Q1 2024.
This is an ongoing project and we continue to work on the development of this building in addition to supporting Hope Alliances’ mission and funding goals. There is much more to this story – click the button below to read more.
What Sets AQUILA Apart?
AQUILA’s project management team continuously supports and advocates for Hope Alliance’s mission. Whether it be battling for votes at a zoning meeting or participating in a fundraising golf tournament – our team is a consistent partner with Hope Alliance through the challenges and celebrations.
Additionally, AQUILA’s marketing team helped to tell Hope Alliance’s story on our website, LinkedIn, and email newsletters. We also produced multiple videos to support Hope Alliance’s mission and story in order to help raise money for Hope Alliance’s capital campaign.
Our work with Hope Alliance is still in progress and we will continue to support them even after this project is complete.
NDVH: A New National Headquarters for a Notable Nonprofit
In 2015, the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) was approaching its 20th anniversary. The organization was looking to bring more awareness to its cause and decided that its national headquarters in Austin, Texas would be an important part of its awareness campaign.
The NDVH headquarters was out of date, inefficient, and no longer met the needs of the organization. It had occupied the same 20,000-square-foot space in the Westlake neighborhood of Austin, Texas for over 15 years. To help assess its headquarters and real estate needs, NDVH hired AQUILA.
AQUILA helped NDVH engage an architect to evaluate its space needs. Based on the architect’s square footage recommendation, AQUILA began the search for a new 25,000-to-30,000-square-foot office space, including both purchase and lease options.
The new office needed to meet the organization’s specific requirements, including cost sensitivity, low-profile location, and proximity to employees. After a comprehensive market survey and tour, NDVH selected a 26,000-square-foot building within a new development in south Austin as the best option.
However, during early discussions with the landlord, we were informed there was no longer enough space within the building to accommodate NDVH. This is when AQUILA had to get creative. There were two other smaller buildings planned for the development. Each was too small for NDVH on its own, and the organization preferred not to be divided between two buildings.
By leveraging NDVH’s sizable square foot and term requirement, AQUILA was able to work with the developer to revise the plan for these buildings. Instead of two smaller buildings, the plan was changed and one larger building would be developed.
Because this building was one of the last to be built on the site, it had less visibility than the typical office tenant would want. But, because of the NDVH’s low-profile requirement, it was an ideal location.
With this new option available, AQUILA was able to negotiate a highly favorable, long-term lease for the new NDVH headquarters. These results included:
- A first-year rental rate close to what they were currently paying, allowing for a “ramp-up period” in order to help offset moving costs; rental rates came up to market after year 1
- A tenant improvement allowance 67% higher than the landlord’s original offer, was important because it minimized any out-of-pocket costs
- An operating expense cap that included property tax, a very rare but particularly important concession, as property tax (and as a result operating expenses) increases can far exceed rental rate increases in the current market
- Purchase options in years 2 and 3; by signing a lease now with the option to purchase, NDVH saved cash-on-hand upfront, but still had the option to own its building, which is typically favorable for nonprofit organizations
- Negotiated fixed rate purchase price, should the purchase options be acted on
And, because the NDVH was brought in before construction on the building began, its team was able to be involved in the finish-out decisions for the building.
What Sets AQUILA Apart?
AQUILA continued our relationship with NDVH far beyond the transaction. The AQUILA Project Management team was brought in during lease negotiations to help estimate build-out budgets and coordinate test fits. Once the lease was signed, they were retained to lead the build-out of the headquarters. The project was delivered on time and on budget, thanks to creative money-saving ideas provided by the project management team.
Additionally, in an effort to help further the valuable mission of the NDVH, two AQUILA brokers chaired the organization’s annual fundraising gala in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
I was impressed with AQUILA’s expertise, experience and work ethic. The value and savings they brought to us were extraordinary.”Gregory M. Aymond, Bishop of Austin, St. John Neumann Catholic Church
From Design to Budget, How AQUILA Brought This Project Back on Track
The St. John Neumann Catholic Church community had a goal of building a beautiful new church and sanctuary. They had been holding mass in their existing facility’s auditorium and after a multi-year capital campaign, were finally in a position to proceed with construction.
Prior to AQUILA’s involvement, the church had already engaged a project manager, who had solicited a negotiated fee and general conditions with a General Contractor. However, once the drawings were finalized, the pricing from the General Contractor was way above what the church had budgeted and could afford. On top of the budgeting issues, the church’s building committee noticed that there were features and finishes shown on the plan that did not reflect their intended design goals.
A member of the building committee contacted AQUILA’s project management team with the issues and AQUILA was retained to take over as the project manager on the project. AQUILA worked with the building committee, the architect, and the engineers to correct and modify the drawings to meet the goals and desires of the building committee. Based on the favorable market conditions at the time, AQUILA recommended taking the new drawings to a competitive bid process with the goal of achieving pricing that would fall within the necessary budget.
After the bid process, two potential contractors were interviewed as finalists. The decision was made to enter into a contract with the actual low-bid general contractor, and the final pricing was more than $2 million less than the previous General Contractor’s price.
AQUILA Project Management was not only able to achieve the savings that Saint John Neumann needed in order to maintain the viability of the project, but AQUILA made sure that the construction process was a smooth one, that the church was built according to the specifications called for and also within the expected timeframe. The Saint John Neumann community now enjoys a beautiful place of worship that has become well-known throughout the state.
AQUILA has represented Goodwill Central Texas since its inception. The AQUILA team members understand and believe in our mission, and the close relationship adds value when we are looking at new building space.”Roberta Schwartz, Vice President, Corporate Compliance and Risk Management, Goodwill Central Texas
Goodwill’s Great Deal: The Story of the Non-Profit’s North Austin Outlet
Initially, Goodwill Industries of Central Texas was seeking 30,000 to 40,000 square feet of industrial space to relocate its storage for seasonal and janitorial/maintenance operations. After touring various sites, the client changed its requirement in order to open a northern outlet store, which would require over 95,000 square feet.
Goodwill presented a unique challenge because they were looking for industrial space in terms of economics and set-up, but the location also had to have retail-like components. Goodwill needed over 25 docks for its trucks and space to store equipment outside. It also needed traditional retail features such as good visibility, substantial parking, and easy access to the building and the space. Goodwill also needed to secure great economics in order to make the site work within its budget, while also expanding to better serve its mission.
AQUILA and Goodwill identified Heritage Crossing, a Class A industrial project in North Austin as an ideal location for the northern outlet. Goodwill was intrigued by the visibility from I-35 and initially worked with the developer to negotiate a deal at the unbuilt Building 4, which would have been right on the freeway. After a few months of negotiations, the deal fell apart and Goodwill and AQUILA started to pursue alternate options.
After looking at several other viable options, Goodwill re-engaged in a deal at Heritage Crossing. This time, the client began negotiations on Building 1, which was at the back of the project but still had great visibility. This time, AQUILA was able to negotiate a better rental rate than had been discussed at Building 4. Our team was also able to get more parking as well as a dedicated pylon sign and building signage, which no one else at the site had and would be important for the retail component of the outlet. Additionally, AQUILA worked with the landlord and developer to design a road that would serve Goodwill’s side of the building. Lastly, we were able to negotiate a large fenced storage area, which no other tenant in the park had.
Ultimately, Goodwill signed a 12-year, 95,270-square-foot lease. The deal met both Goodwill’s storage and outlet needs. With the opening of its northern outlet, Goodwill was able to greatly improve the logistics of their operations in Central Texas. Goodwill’s outlet locations are their most profitable retail centers, and this new income has allowed them to put more money to work for good into the Austin community.
What Sets AQUILA Apart?
AQUILA continues to work with Goodwill on various projects from retail locations to ground-up development. The partnership we have with Goodwill is strong and continues to be fruitful.
AQUILA is more than just a real estate brokerage. The AQUILA team is committed to Goodwill Central Texas as a partner, working side by side to ensure transactions are not only in our best interest, but also help to advance our mission. As our partner over the years they have spent innumerable hours answering questions and providing information because we needed help, regardless of whether it was related to a new real estate venture. They are our friends, partners, brokers and advisors all wrapped up in one.”Gerald L. Davis, President and CEO, Goodwill Central Texas
Founded in 2007, AQUILA Commercial is a recognized leader in Austin commercial real estate. Today AQUILA manages and leases over 23 million square feet of office, industrial and retail properties and has over 600 corporate tenant representation clients. AQUILA offers clients full-service real estate solutions, providing tenant representation, project leasing, and asset, property, and project management services for office, industrial, and retail properties. For more information, explore our website.