As we approach the end of the year the QC Real Estate Department is working hard to finish up several projects. Let’s talk about what is involved in getting one of these projects prepared for construction. The process begins with us, the Real Estate Managers, when we first identify the specific sites in our individual markets. After internal department approval we ride with our Real Estate Committee for approval to move forward on the project. With guidance from legal and construction we begin the process which QuickChek budgets over two years to obtain the approvals.
So let’s talk about what this process looks like once we have Committee approval. After final negotiation with the property owner our legal team prepares a contract and works closely with the owner’s legal team until all parties are satisfied. Once the document is signed we begin a 90 to 120 day due diligence period in which a full investigation of the premises is conducted. We also at this time have already engaged the support of a Civil Engineer, Traffic Engineer and an Environmental Consultant to prepare for the approval process in the local municipality where the site is. The due diligence process includes a survey, Phase I Environmental report, and then environmental testing of the premises by our professionals. Also, most importantly, we engage the municipality to get a feeling of the over-all acceptance of the project. After internal approval we come out of due diligence and start the permitting period adding a land use attorney and professional planner to join the team. Our engineering firm now prepares all of our documents for submittal to the local municipality and any other agencies we may need approvals from. This submittal normally occurs around thirty days after our due diligence ends. Having met with local officials we usually have a good idea of how this permitting process will go. When we get to the first public hearing is when we get to present our case as the public is welcome to come to support and/or object to our application.
Even though we have budgeted two years for the process we always attempt to move this along as quickly as we can. How many meetings does it take? Well it can take one meeting or maybe as much as twenty meetings to obtain an approval. Twenty meetings! How can that be you may say. Unfortunately there ends up being people who feel they do not want QuickChek to be approved. Usually these are competitors of ours who are afraid of the competition and they rally any of the local residents to come out to object to our application. These objectors can also hire their own team of professionals in support of the objection. At the end, even if QuickChek succeeds, the objectors have the right to appeal the decision to the court. If appealed the project could take another two years before we may get a final decision. If approved we move to get the site under construction which also includes many other permits that our construction team has to obtain. So from the time that QuickChek signs the deal it usually takes close to three years before a new store would be opening.
Please let our department know if you are interested in attending the hearings that we as a corporation are having. I presently sit on my own boards in Hardyston, NJ so I have the pleasure of seeing the process from both sides. I urge anyone interested in this process to contact your local government for information on being a member. It’s volunteer work and a very good way to support our own communities. All of us in the QuickChek Real Estate Department would like to thank all of you for all your hard work out in the stores. This allows us to find and permit all of these new locations which are vital to the future growth of QuickChek.
Real Estate Manager