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SAN ANTONIO-A joint venture has been formed to help Goddard Systems Inc., a northeastern US-based preschool-childcare company expand nationwide. The first of 50 centers will go up in the city’s far northern tier.

Across America Real Estate Corp. of Denver is providing 100% financing for Goddard and MDJ Development Inc. of Austin to advance the development program. The first project is an 8,000-sf prototype on 1.5 acres at Hardy Oaks Boulevard and Crescent Oaks in the Stone Oaks neighborhood. A specific groundbreaking date hasn’t been set.

Michael Johnson, president of the development company, says dirt will move when the permitting process is completed. Johnson tells GlobeSt.com that the building process takes about a year from the time the lease is signed. Once the buildings are completed, the real estate will be sold to third-party buyers.

Although it varies from market to market when it comes to development, Johnson and Larry Woolfolk, regional vice president with Across America Real Estate, estimate each school will cost $5 million to $7 million. The King of Prussia, PA-based Goddard, which has roughly 200 schools in 32 states, is planning to build 50 centers by the end of this year.

“The largest limiting factor of these developments is the land costs,” Johnson adds. “In a lot of cases, land prices can be out of synch with what people are willing to pay for education.”

Another variable when it comes to building the centers is sound fundamentals including visibility, accessibility and a location near families with young children. It was Goddard’s emphasis on the location requirements that helped to bring Across America on board as a development partner. “We like that Goddard is discerning about their locations and demographics,” Woolfolk says. “They want to locate in the ‘A’ locations and we like to have our products in those ‘A’ locations as they’re easier to sell to third parties.”

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