(Photos courtesy Lauren Adams)
We’ve been asked a few times about work under way at 6007 California SW, home to Dr. Mark Bingham‘s dentistry practice until he retired after a quarter-century. We’ve learned that it’s the new home of the Bella Mente Early Learning Center preschool/day-care center – leaving its longtime Triangle-area location after facing the loss of its lease. And there’s a twist: Bella Mente has a crowdfunding campaign in progress.
After six years at 40th and Edmunds – on two 3-year leases – Bella Mente’s owner Lauren Adams was offered a one-year extension, with time beyond that “possible” but no guarantee; property managers told her the property will be sold with another Huling Properties-owned site immediately east. She says the price (the 2-parcel site’s assessed value alone is $2.7 million) was out of her range, so she bought the California SW location. That 68-year-old building requires extensive renovation work, however – estimated at around $278,000 – that Adams says wasn’t factored into her SBA loan because of appraisal confusion (“as-is” vs. “after construction”). She says that with time running out on her lease, she didn’t want to drop the plan:
So, we took the leap and are working hard 24/7 to find creative ways to come up with construction costs. My family has been extremely supportive and we are selling both our car and our house to use those funds for our project. My husband and I are offering our families date nights every Friday night with all proceeds going to this fund. Our teachers are spreading the word as well. We know the hard work that this will take and we are prepared to do anything we can to make this building the new home for Bella Mente. We have plans for the typical fundraising ideas of bake sales, garage sales, art auctions, and 5K’s. And we are keeping open minds to any other ideas that our community might have to help us work to reach our goal.
Adams’s friend Jason, who first told us about the situation, says Adams has raised about half of it so far.” The preschool owner tells us, “We have a long way to go but are excited for the challenge and this opportunity to continue our vision for our current children and the future children in our community that we will be able to reach because of this new building.” Her crowdfunding page is here.