The Development Team
While the concept for the employer-assisted housing originated in the offices of the university president and provost, for implementation it moved to Mason’s senior vice president for facilities and his staff.
Mason initially advertised for partners to help deliver affordable faculty and staff housing with a competitive solicitation through the Virginia Public/Private Partnership Education and Infrastructure Act of 2002 (PPEA). PPEA was designed to bring private sector expertise to bear on public projects—saving time and money. It allows private entities to “acquire, design, construct, improve, renovate, expand, equip, maintain, or operate qualifying projects” and encourages innovative approaches to financing construction and renovation.
As a result of that solicitation, Mason hired a team headed by Studley and Brailsford & Dunlavey (“Studley/B&D”), which became the development managers of the project. While equal partners, Studley was focused more on the creation of policies and procedures, financing, setting up the holding structure/ground lease, and legislative consideration while B&D led the team in the market research and design and construction management and project closeout. As part of their proposal to Mason, they recommended the establishment of a special-purpose nonprofit 501(c)3 that would allow the university to keep the development off its balance sheet and only minimally affect its credit. The team proposed a sustainable model that would allow for the development of market-rate housing at below-market pricing while providing a source of revenue for the institution. The nonprofit developer arrangement would also support Mason’s ability to use tax-exempt financing.ULI Case Studies: Masonvale—Fairfax, Virginia
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