Facilitating a Landmark Loan
A good bank helps businesses solve problems. Covenant College had a problem; they needed financing to renovate a historic landmark on their campus. They finally turned to Atlantic Capital who provided them with a simplified credit solution that lowered their financial costs.
Every community has landmarks: familiar sights and locations that become defining features. They typically earn their iconic status over time. Covenant College’s Carter Hall is one such landmark. It is the historic centerpiece of the College and known to many as the “Castle in the Clouds” for the lofty tower on campus often shrouded in the clouds lingering over Lookout Mountain.
Recently, the college decided to reinvest in their landmark and renovate the building, which now serves as a student union, office building, and dormitory. The renovation involved a complete restoration of the exterior to its original design as well as updating the entire interior, renewing the Grand Hotel heritage of the property. The project would take two years and nearly $20 million to complete.
Renovating Carter Hall was a big project. The school turned for interim financing to the local office of a big bank. Although the bank had the capital for the project, it didn’t understand the college’s unique situation. The college was passed around inside the financial institution, from one office to another, and as the financing terms became unnecessarily burdensome and expensive. The time had come to renovate the College’s financing and banking relationship.
Dan Wykoff, then CFO of Covenant College, collaborated with David Gernhard of Atlantic Capital to see what solutions they might be able to bring to the table. David and the Atlantic Capital team were able to provide a thoughtful and cost-effective financing solution. The difference was attentiveness and expertise.
“From the beginning we were thankful for Atlantic Capital’s willingness to work with us as a partner rather than a mere vendor. They did not take a one size fits all approach; instead, they took the time to understand our unique needs and then deliver a solution that has reduced the financing costs of the project as well as enhanced our cash flow position while we collect on the pledges from our generous donors,” said Jamie Gross, Covenant College’s Controller.
Even Atlantic Capital’s CEO Doug Williams was involved in the collaboration, meeting personally with Covenant’s President, Derek Halvorson. “Covenant College is the official college of the Presbyterian Church in America, a denomination which my family has been a part for more than three decades. The college has always carried a great reputation in the region. I wanted to help move this project forward any way I could. David and our credit team did a great job of crafting a unique solution.”
Covenant College discovered that big projects don’t require a big bank. They require an attentive bank that takes the time to listen and structure creative and customized solutions for their clients. With Atlantic Capital, the school discovered a lender who could offer personal expertise and sufficient capital for a loan as unique as their landmark campus.