SBA 504 loan eligibility - passive?

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Scott Tillitt / BEAHIVE

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May 7, 2019, 10:24:08 AM5/7/19
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I’m exploring getting an SBA 504 loan to purchase the building I’ve been in for 10 years. They’re arguing that coworking isn’t eligible, as it’s a passive business, primarily engaged in real estate in which we lease (license) it out to accommodate independent businesses that provide services directly to the public.

I think those of us who own or manage coworking spaces would not call it passive… but has anyone had any experience successfully navigating this?

Thanks!
scott.

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SCOTT TILLITT
PR yogi + social entrepreneur + community catalyst + meditator
//  Facebook  /  LinkedIn  //  917.449.6356

BEAHIVE  //  pioneering spaces for work + community + possibilities

ANTIDOTE COLLECTIVE  //  communications + projects for a better world


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"...an idea or product that deserves the label 'creative' arises from the synergy of many sources and not only from the mind of a single person." — Mihaly Csikszentmihaly

Denis Clijsters

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May 7, 2019, 11:35:30 AM5/7/19
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Hi Scott, I would be curious to know how your experience went!

I'm currently starting up a coworking space, we already own the building but we're looking for money for renovations. One part I inquired for are solar panels, and the 504 sba green loan, but there I've been denied because I don't occupy the building myself for +50%, since we rent out to individual businesses, and gradually as we're expanding, more and more to coworking members.

I agree with your reasoning that coworking isn't just real estate, but it's a business in itself that definitely isn't a passive investment!

Thanks,
Denis

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Jerome Chang

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May 7, 2019, 11:44:16 AM5/7/19
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Please be careful when you say “rent” as that invokes state regulations regarding your “tenant’s” occupancy.
Most/all coworking spaces uses “memberships” like one would join a country club.
Therefore, to get this 504 loan, I would recommend using another LLC to legally “rent” out the entire building, then have this LLC provide memberships to these member occupants.

Now, the bank should see that you, via your new LLC, are indeed occupying >50% of the building. :-)

Denis Clijsters

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May 7, 2019, 11:50:06 AM5/7/19
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Sounds like a plan!

Actually that's more or less the set-up we have now.

I own the building 50/50 with an investor, and I own the coworking 50/50 with another person and we lease and sublease the space, furnish it and organise activities etc... So it's a little more dubious. But good plan to always refer to memberships on our contracts and invoices (I'll have to run that by our attorney though first)



Sphere Mail

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Jun 3, 2019, 10:18:07 AM6/3/19
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I managed to acquire two buildings through SBA as a coworking space operation. One thing you need to make sure is that you make it clear to the bank that it is not a landlord/tenant relationship but rather a membership based service similar to a gym membership. In addition you are offering other services such as virtual mail, visrtual office, conference room rentals by the hour, and you may add a coffee stand as well, selling coffee. Banks still need to be educated in this regard. If the bank you're working not convinced go to another bank.

Hope this helps.

 My Best,
Hasan Mirjan
SphereMail.co
Santa Monica,CA
US: +1 888 818 6477
UK: +44 1423 222437

PATENT PENDING U.S. 62672753  

Sphere Mail

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Jun 3, 2019, 10:18:07 AM6/3/19
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Agree with Jerome, and I would add to that is that you would qualify for SBA if you occupy only 51% of the building as a coworking space and rest can remain as regular tenants if they already exist, say hair salon or a retail store, office etc.

My Best,
Hasan Mirjan
SphereMail.co
Santa Monica,CA
US: +1 888 818 6477
UK: +44 1423 222437

PATENT PENDING U.S. 62672753
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