MAY 16, 2011 – When the Initiative asked the executive directors of its grantee organizations to look into sustainability planning, Carl Manning listened.
“The Initiative had mentioned to all the CDCs before the economy changed like it did to look into the concept of social enterprising – finding other ways to generate funds so we could be self-sustaining,” said Manning, executive director of Kingdom Community Development Corp. in Fayetteville. “And I took it to heart.”
The CDC had recently purchased commercial property in Spring Lake that is one mile south of the entrance to Fort Bragg. Manning knew the property was a prime location, with Base Realignment and Closure bringing tens of thousands of new residents to the cities and towns surrounding the military base.
He worked with his board of directors to develop a plan to create businesses that could be operated by the CDC to generate revenue for its community economic development projects.
“It is imperative that CDCs develop resources that will help them become less reliant on uncertain funding sources, such as grants,” Initiative CEO Abdul Rasheed said. “Since before the recession, we have been working with our community organizations to develop CDC-owned social enterprises, mission-focused businesses, that will generate revenue and provide the means to continue their programs, even in times of economic crisis.”
Ultimately, Manning chose to anchor Kingdom’s sustainability plan with a Candlewood Suites Extended Stay Hotel that will target military contractors, who stay in the area for several weeks at a time, and a neighboring IHOP restaurant. The hotel is still in development but the IHOP opened May 7 with a “Friends and Family” weekend event that allowed staff to train with a restaurant full of customers.
Manning created a for-profit development company, Kingdom Hospitality Inc., to own and develop the CDC’s businesses. Its restaurant and hotel are developed by Kingdom Hospitality with KRJ Inc., a local development company, under the name Bragg Hospitality Inc.
The project wouldn’t be possible without key partnerships, Manning said. The Initiative pulled in Andrew Foster, program director for the Law and Entrepreneurship LLM Program at Duke Law School, and Bridgette Chisholm, managing partner for BWC Consulting, to help structure the franchise deals and work out the legal issues involved. The Cumberland County Department of Community Development and Town of Spring Lake were critical supporters from the beginning of the project.
Kingdom financed the project through Carter National Bank and N.C. Community Development Initiative Capital, the Initiative’s lending subsidiary. “The Initiative was very crucial and important in getting the initial dollars to do all of our due-diligence work and assisting in some of the financing for the project,” Manning said.
The project is an ambitious but necessary undertaking. “It was a project that was needed for the organization to be in a position to become self-sufficient. That is the true essence of what this CDC movement is about in this time, this era,” Manning said. “We were lucky enough to have this opportunity. We took advantage of it and it will lend itself to the future of Kingdom moving forward.”