Partnership Brings New Charter School to South Bronx

The building represents the first newly constructed facility in the Classical Charter Schools portfolio. The school is scheduled to open during the 2017-2018 academic year.

The Community Development Trust, Raza Development Fund and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are investing $14 million in the construction of a new $16.5 million school. The project will be developed in a partnership with the Classical Charter Schools network in the South Bronx, New York City.

Construction of Morrisania, South Bronx Classical Charter School
Construction of Morrisania, South Bronx Classical Charter School

“We’re incredibly excited about this project because we believe that it is a moral imperative to offer our curriculum to as many deserving but underserved children as possible,” said Lester Long, executive director of Classical Charter Schools, in prepared remarks.

The six-story, 53,463-square-foot school will feature 23 classrooms, a full-size gym, a cafeteria with separate warming kitchen, staff offices, conference and meeting rooms, a music room and outdoor space. The new space will serve 580 kindergarten through eighth-grade students in the neighborhood of Morrisania.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has been financing charter school facilities through its Community Development Banking group. The company approached CDT in 2016 about providing permanent financing for the proposed school through a 24-month forward commitment that would refinance the construction loan. CDT expanded its mission 14 months ago by creating the CDT Charter School Lending Program, which provides long-term, competitively priced fixed-rate financing for academically high-performing charter schools.

CDT then approached the RDF Education Finance team about serving as the transaction’s co-lender. RDF agreed to provide 50 percent of the first mortgageThe $14 million BofAML construction loan to develop the CCS facility will be refinanced with two co-first mortgage loans of $7 million from CDT and RDF. This is CDT’s first project financed through its Charter School Lending Program.

“Our aim is to address the problems that charter schools have historically faced in obtaining suitable financing,” said Shelly Cleary, CDT’s senior vice president, Charter Schools, in prepared remarks. “We believe that, in addition to affordable housing, providing access to quality schools helps parents and families to ensure their children will thrive.”

The building represents the first newly constructed facility in the Classical Charter Schools portfolio. The school is scheduled to open during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Image courtesy of Community Development Trust