Project MEND gets big assist from downtown developer for new campus
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Project MEND – a San Antonio-based nonprofit that refurbishes, reuses and distributes medical equipment and other assistive technology – plans to move out of its aging East Side facilities and into a new campus near the South Texas Medical Center.
The $3.2 million project will include building an 18,000-square-foot facility on more than 3 acres near Wurzbach Road and Crystal Run.
Project MEND’s decision to pursue developing a new campus was made possible by a land deal with GrayStreet Partners, which has embarked on an aggressive development strategy in and around downtown San Antonio in recent years. GrayStreet Partners Managing Partner Kevin Covey said the deal with Project MEND has been in the works for about three years.
“I initially approached them abut purchasing their site,” Covey said. “We had a deal done. But I became enamored with their mission.”
In the end, GrayStreet agreed to pay Project MEND what Covey characterized as above market value for the Austin Street site and to donate the Northwest Side real estate to the organization for its new facilities.
“The new campus will be expansive,” Covey said.
Project MEND refurbishes and distributes donated equipment to individuals with life-changing disabilities and illnesses who may not otherwise be able to afford access to them. Once the organization’s new campus is completed, it will have one of the largest medical equipment reuse facilities in the nation, enabling the nonprofit to expand its inventory and services.
The new campus will include an administrative center, which will give Project MEND additional space to meet customers, fit individuals for medical equipment and host community events.
“The donation of land is something we didn’t expect,” Project MEND CEO Cathy Valdez said. “We would have had to extend the capital campaign in time and dollars.”
Project MEND officials said the nonprofit’s current facility is too small and is in dire need of repairs. The nonprofit is hopeful it can break ground on the new campus by mid-2019.
“That’s the plan,” Valdez said. “This project has been a long time coming. We still have dollars to raise.”
Others have stepped up to help Project MEND, including the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, philanthropist Harvey Najim’s Najim Family Foundation and Bexar County, which are collectively contributing $1.75 million to the capital campaign.
In addition to these donors and Covey’s lead gift, Project MEND has secured donations from Impact San Antonio, Valero Energy Foundation and the Nancy Smith Hurd Foundation. With the help from donors, Project MEND needs to raise about $1 million more for the new campus.
While GrayStreet Partners plans to clear the Austin Street site near Pearl for new development, its purchase of the real estate and contribution of land was crucial to Project MEND’s campus plans.
“This is now one of our preferred charities, and we are happy to help them,” Covey said. “It’s part of our philanthropic program.”
By W. Scott Bailey, Senior Reporter, San Antonio Business Journal
EVERY MOMENT COUNTS
The staff and Board of Directors of Project MEND have unanimously agreed to move forward with a $3.2 million dollar capital campaign to build a headquarters that will combine program staff and our warehouse in one building in order to greatly enhance the experience of our customers and expand the numbers we serve.
For the first time in years, customers will be able to see their case worker again, tell them about their needs, fill out the needed paperwork and receive their equipment all in the same place, often in the same day, just like before.