Case Study
Society of American Florists

Background

The Society of American Florists (SAF) is a $5 million 501(c)(6) organization based in Alexandria, VA. For over 30 years, SAF has owned its current headquarters office building and parking lot located near Old Town Alexandria. As SAF’s organization and business has changed over the years, so has the useful life of the Building and the market around SAF.

Challenge

West, Lane & Schlager worked with SAF’s executive team to develop a thorough analysis of their current real estate situation as compared to the market and their peers to determine if continuing to own its current headquarters was a viable alternative for the future of the organization. WLS found SAF had numerous challenges to explore. One was that their aggregate occupancy expenses were extremely low compared to the market. Second, the occupancy cost-to-revenue and cost-per employee ratios were higher than those of its peers. Finally, SAF's space was outdated, inefficient and too big for current and planned staff, as their property had 40,000 square feet of additional density that was underutilized.

Solution

WLS negotiated the sale of SAF’s building, in conjunction with the purchase of a nearby, right-sized condominium (SAF’s new headquarters). As a result, SAF was able to purchase the new property with no debt, fund all improvements and moving expenses to the new headquarters, net SAF over $1.5 million to go towards mission oriented initiatives and operations and reduced SAF’s annual occupancy expenses by 40%.

Results

WLS was able to find a solution to SAF’s space use requirements: similar location, more efficient, modern and collaborative space, similar transit-oriented location, occupancy expenses either at or below current costs and having no out of pocket expenses. WLS was also able to secure a record setting sale price while securing a traditional, low risk sale contract.

Key Contacts