There were many great questions and concerns that were raised at the town hall meeting that we would like to recap for those of you who could not attend.
Questions asked at Feb 19 Town Hall:
Which decisions go to the General Body?
The General Body is responsible for approving the yearly Capital Budget that is sent to all ISCJ members in the Annual Report. They are also responsible for voting on any motions that are provided on the ballot. At the Annual General Body meeting, ISCJ members vote for 3 candidates for the Board of Trustees, and 2 candidates for Board of Overseers. In addition, if the master plan changes in a way that its usage differs from the original approved master plan that impacts parking, traffic, zoning; the General Body needs to approve those changes.
Will we be provided with more details in terms of the future project? Why aren't we completing the current projects first?
As stated above, we will continue to provide informational sessions on our future project in the coming weeks. We will also send the General Body all details pertinent to the proposed projects via email and social media. We are still in the early planning stages of the Sports Facility.
The current projects that are already underway are the masjid renovation of the bathrooms as well as the Masjid Expansion. Since these projects have no contingency (in terms of construction) to the building of the Sports Facility, there is no reason to delay either project. In addition, we are not relying on community's donations for the Sports Facility as this will be a privately funded project by either investors or a vendor. (see question #4)
We have not had a gym facility for the youth and community at large for 40 years, so this is not a project that was rushed. On the contrary, this is a project that was long overdue and needed today. Delaying the construction of this revenue-generating project will actually prevent our community from receiving additional much-needed funds in order to ensure ISCJ's financial sustainability.
Have we considered an off-site model? For example, using the Annex building for this facility?
We have not considered off-site models since logically it would not make sense to have our youth (and community) leave our campus in order to use a facility that we are building for the society to use when they are on the ISCJ campus. Furthermore, since we do not own the Annex building, we can not assume that we can expand into that property.
Can you explain the three different investor models?
This was previously detailed in the FAQ sent out by ISCJ and is as follows.
There are various models being evaluated.:
1. Design, build, maintain, operate and financed by an outside investor with long-term lease (ISCJ would incur no cost in this model).
2. A hybrid between community investors and outside investor.
3. Completely financed by investors from the community. Investors would incur both capital and operating costs. ISCJ would have responsibility of running facility and ensuring 100% usage to generate revenue back to ISCJ. This model would require years of expertise and experience in running facilities of this scope.
*None of the above options will require donations from the donor-fatigued ISCJ community.
Additional FAQ questions:
What is the approximate cost of building this facility?
If ISCJ were to fundraise to build this facility, it would cost the community an estimated $4M-$5M. For this reason, we are evaluating the above financial models.
What does the facility include and what kind of activities can it accommodate?
This facility will be temperature-controlled (for year-round use) and will include an indoor turf field (soccer, lacrosse, cricket) and 2 full-size basketball courts with multi-court surfaces to accommodate other sports (volleyball, tennis, futsal, badminton, etc). It will also include breakout party rooms, a quiet study space, a cafe, and men's and women's locker rooms.
What happens if we go with the outside investor model and the investor goes bankrupt?
No operator would have a lien on remaining ISCJ property. As part of the lease agreement, operator will not be allowed to use the parcel as collateral for any use of securing credit.
Why are the terms of the lease for so many years?
The terms of the lease have not been established to be negotiated. In general, a longer lease term (20+ years) will be required because this would be considered a specialized lease agreement. Additionally, terms in the lease for minimum upkeep includes a buyout clause. We are going to engage a specialized attorney to ensure all concerns are addressed. We should be more concerned about experience in this market, expertise, and competency providing Class A services to the community, healthy cooperation, as well as integration to the community.
Although the length of the term of a build-to-suit lease varies from project to project; for the most part these leases have very long terms, often 10 to 20 years or longer. The more specialized the project, the more important it is to the landlord that the lease term be long enough to fully amortize the landlord's investment in the property. Very specialized properties may have little value to any party other than the original tenant.
How will ISCJ prosper from a facility run by an outside vendor?
ISCJ community doesn't have experienced sport operators who can attract and retain the teams, leagues and occupancy rate as well as the management expertise to profitably operate this type of specialized facility. Furthermore, a lease payment will be written into the agreement that will be guarantee ISCJ revenue each year.