Introducing the CFCR/CIS ‘State of Our Children’ Report
May 2, 2019
Safe Alliance President & Chief Executive Officer Award
July 3, 2019
Looking Back: Cooperation Builds Nonprofit a Home

Step back in time and read an article that was published a little over a month after our building welcomed its first tenants. We’ve come a long way in the last 16 years, but the opening to the May 2003 article is still true today, “The … Children & Family Services Center in First Ward is more than a building. It’s an uptown monument to philanthropy and cooperation among Charlotte businesses.” Enjoy the rest of the article below.

COOPERATION BUILDS NONPROFITS A HOME – THANKS TO – Charlotte
Observer (NC) – May 25, 2003 – page 1E
May 25, 2003 | Charlotte Observer (NC) | DOUG SMITH, Staff Writer | Page 1E

The new five-story Children & Family Services Center in First Ward is more than a building.

It’s an uptown monument to philanthropy and cooperation among Charlotte businesses.

“What we’ve seen here is people who generally compete against each other come together for a common cause,” said Peggy Eagan, building director.

Commercial real estate brokers, architects, lawyers, contractors and others joined forces to build a permanent home for nine nonprofit agencies that provide services to troubled families.

Setting the tone for cooperation, retired bank chairmen Hugh McColl Jr. of Bank of America and Ed Crutchfield of First Union (now Wachovia) led a campaign two years ago that raised more than $10 million in cash and in-kind donations for construction.

That gave the agencies, accustomed to moving often to take advantage of make-do space provided by generous landlords, a chance to create their new home.

“We were nonprofits trained in helping people,” Eagan said. “We had no idea how to do space planning for a new building.”

Little Diversified Architectural Consulting stepped in to help.

The agencies learned that by sharing a building, they could reduce expenses if they included one conference room and one board room to serve all nine.

Participating agencies are A Child’s Place, Children’s Law Center, Communities in Schools, Community Link, Council for Children, Smart Start, United Family Services, Youth Homes and YouthNetwork (formerly T he Relatives).

A volunteer real estate advisory committee subjected everyone’s wish list to a reality check.

“Sometimes we had to be the bad guy,” said committee member Rob Cochran of Colliers Pinkard. “We had to remind them they were paying for it.”

The agencies set up a separate nonprofit corporation to own the building, which is leasing its nearly two-acre site from the city for half the market rate.

Attorney Bob Simmons of Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson donated the time he spent on legal work for the project.

As part of the business plan, the Children & Family Services Center will lease unoccupied space to other tenants and use proceeds to subsidize rent for the agencies.

Real estate committee member Bart Hopper of New South Properties of the Carolinas said about 32,000 square feet of the 106,000-square-foot building is available – including the entire 20,000- square-foot top floor.

He’s quoting an annual rate of $18 a square foot, below the average of $21 a square foot for uptown’s finest (Class A) space.

Hopper and Cochran are in charge of project leasing. Other members of their committee include chairman Pete Lash of Beacon Partners and Tricia Noble of Childress Klein Properties.

Nancy Crown of Bank of America’s community development arm also was involved.

The building, managed by The Keith Corp., includes 90 parking spaces. The city will make about 250 nearby spaces available for tenants, Hopper said.

Features include floor-to-ceiling windows, a kitchen, a library, a training room, a children’s play area and break rooms.

“This building was built to the same standards as the uptown towers and has all of the features you would expect to find in them,” said Steve Onxley of Onxley Architecture.

He did the construction administration and designed the interior core. Holly Grosvenor of Stanfield Studios did exterior design.

ColeJenest & Stone provided landscape architecture.

Shelco Inc. was the general contractor, and Price Davis Construction built out the interior.

But once all those new offices were completed in the spacious building, the agencies needed furniture and office equipment.

Most of that was donated by Bank of America, Eagan said.

About 230 people work in the building, which opened in April.

Now that we have a blueprint for corporate cooperation on a building project, we should be able to do it again. Right, guys?

Doug Smith: (704) 358-5174; dougsmith@charlotteobserver.com