Heritage Gardens is Metro Vancouver’s newest cemetery, and the first cemetery to open in over 50 years. Founders Tom and Trevor Crean represent two of four generations of a family legacy of serving the bereaved. Tom’s grandfather established Kearney Funeral Services in 1908, a family business which carries on to this day.Due to the close relationship between funeral homes and cemeteries, Tom & Trevor became familiar with cemetery operations over their combined five decades in funeral service. Ever a forward thinker, Tom anticipated the future shortage of burial space as early as 1985, and the resulting spike in cemetery costs. Tom became committed to creating a new kind of cemetery; one that is affordable, environmentally sustainable, and transparent.
Heritage approached Ashdown to find a lender that was willing to work with them and believed in their vision of bringing an affordable, environmentally sustainable cemetery to market. Cemetery land is unique as land with a Right of Internment on title cannot be developed into anything other than a cemetery, so it is only “worth” what a cemetery operator can sell the individual plots for. We needed to find a lender that believed in the Crean’s vision and could support them through to the final plot sale.
As the land could not be valued using traditional appraisal techniques, we worked with an appraiser to issue an appraisal that only considered the discounted cash flow of the revenue stream. We then structured the loan as if it was condo development, with the loan being paid back as the plots were sold. We went to market and found a lender that was willing to lend against this discounted cash flow, with a term that matched the projected sales of the cemetery. In the end, the lender believed in their long-term vision and gave them favourable pricing and terms to see their concept come to fruition.
“The guys at Ashdown were friendly and upfront from the start. After discussions and diligence, they came back to us with multiple interested lenders. When we were ready to proceed, they executed everything. We had a load off our plate and breathing room to continue our outreach to faith groups and non-profits- the communities that truly need the affordable burial space we are providing. A BIG thank you to Brad and Ryan!” – Trevor Crean, General Manager