Belmont Oaks Academy and Merry Moppet Preschool Builds New, 2-Story Classroom in Belmont, CA With $10M in Financing From Capital Access Group and the SBA 504 Loan Program


Capital Access Group (, a commercial real estate lender specializing in U.S. Small Business Administration 504 loans for growing businesses, recently helped Belmont Oaks Academy and Merry Moppet Preschool secure $10 million in total project financing through the SBA 504 commercial real estate loan program to finance the construction of a new, two-story classroom building in Belmont, CA. The new building adds 12,500 square feet to the combined Belmont Oaks Academy and Merry Moppet Preschool campus, and includes six new classrooms and administrative offices.

Founded in 1948 by Janet Graetz, the school has remained in the family with Mrs. Graetz passing the reigns first to her daughter Pamela Graetz Clarke and subsequently to her granddaughter, Jennifer Clarke Khoury. Together, Belmont Oaks Academy (K-5th grades) and Merry Moppet Preschool provide a thoughtfully balanced program. For over 70 years families have chosen Belmont Oaks Academy and Merry Moppet Preschool for its proven excellence in education.

“We educate the whole child, putting equal emphasis on intellectual development and social and emotional growth,” said Joanna Reams, Director of Finance and Operations for the school.  “True to the mission of our foundress, we believe that a successful education takes place in a warm, nurturing environment that is rooted in tradition yet focused on the future. Families continue to choose our school today knowing that we provide a safe and challenging learning environment for their children to explore, learn and grow.”

Merry Moppet has experienced “steady and sustained growth over the years,” according to Reams, but it was time to update and expand the campus.

“The area where we put the new building was underutilized, and we wanted to provide a learning environment that is modern,” said Reams. “This was the right time for the school to jump into the project.”

Although Joanna and her team were ready to expand, they still wanted to find a financing solution that was a match with their business values.

“We are a very conservative, family-run business, and we have a conservative approach to how we run the business,” said Reams. “This was a large expansion for us, so it's a big financial leap for our school and our business to take on the burden of debt.”

Reams said she felt “very comfortable” with the SBA 504 loan’s fixed, 20-year term, and believed the 504 loan program was the “most appealing” option.

Reams also appreciated the service she received from Capital Access Group, particularly their flexibility as the project evolved and their willingness to increase the loan amount after the construction costs increased by “a few million dollars” beyond the originally approved amount while the project made its way through hearings at city hall and in the time it took to get all the approvals in place.

“It's the most challenging time for construction in the Bay Area,” said Reams. “Fortunately, they increased our loan size, and Claudia (Cohen) was very helpful in answering my questions and helping us make our decision on what direction we needed to go in,” said Reams. “She gave me great comfort as we were moving through the process and becoming aware of the increased construction costs.”

“We were so pleased to help Belmont Oaks Academy and Merry Moppet Preschool secure the funds they needed for this major expansion,” said Claudia Cohen, Senior Vice President, Capital Access Group. “Merry Moppet has been an anchor in the community for many years, and it was exciting to help them expand so they can offer modern facilities to continue educating our next generation of youth.”

About Capital Access Group: Capital Access Group is a leading statewide Certified Development Company based in San Francisco, authorized by the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide long-term, fixed-rate financing through the SBA 504 loan program, which offers 90% financing to business owners for the purchase, renovation, or construction of commercial real estate for their growing businesses. Founded in 1981, Capital Access Group has helped thousands of entrepreneurs grow their businesses and realize their dreams of owning their own buildings. Currently, the SBA 504 interest rate is 3.98%, fully amortized and fixed for 20 years. For more information, please visit

SOURCE: Capital Access Group

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