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Lightbridge Academy Secures Real Estate to Speed the Development Process for Franchise Owners, First Site in Wesley Chapel on Fast Track to Open

Preparing for expansion throughout greater Tampa, the early education and child care franchise is proactively securing prime real estate as part of its new “land banking” strategy.

By Luca Piacentini1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSOREDUpdated 3:15PM 10/31/22

Lightbridge Academy, one of the nation’s leading early education and child care providers, has secured real estate for a center in Wesley Chapel, FL. It is excited to launch its plan to open centers faster as it builds out its footprint in The Sunshine State.

“With the population explosion throughout all of Florida, Tampa has become one of the biggest markets in Northwest Florida,” said Lightbridge Academy's Chief Development Officer Craig Murray. “This is our second center in all of Florida and will be the first of about four to five centers in the Tampa market. Our overall goal is to better serve the community through our Circle of Care® philosophy and provide the ever-growing population with the highest quality early education and child care possible.”

The signed lease is for a brand new parcel of land on Gateway Boulevard that is set to be developed with a few other co-tenants. “It is right in the heart of Wesley Chapel, which allows us to be a more convenient option for parents as The Solution for Working Parents®, especially as they head back to work in the office,” Murray said. 

This Wesley Chapel lease is part of Lightbridge Academy’s new land banking strategy, Murray says. In the past, the timeline from signing to opening may have taken longer than would be ideal, especially for first-time franchisees who were learning the ropes of negotiating and securing qualified commercial real estate. By proactively leasing sites at the corporate level before franchise owners are signed, Murray says the team can increase speed to market while giving the landlord a guarantee as well.

“We will start to develop the center while identifying the ideal franchise owner simultaneously,” said Murray. “When we do make the sale, that franchise owner will be able to bring Lightbridge to the community much faster than before. Traditional child care center development takes anywhere between 16 to 24 months to come to market after the franchise agreement is signed. We are leveraging our partnerships in the development world to shorten that time frame and give franchise owners the possibility of opening immediately upon signing in certain markets.”

So far this year, Lightbridge Franchise Company has celebrated 13 signings for a total of 22 locations. Looking ahead, Murray says the Lightbridge team aims to leverage the land banking strategy for faster growth in untapped markets across Florida, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia with qualified franchise partners.

About Lightbridge Academy: 

Established in 1997, the company was founded as a family business based on core values and a Circle of Care philosophy that places equal importance on the needs of children, their families, teachers, center owners and the community. Lightbridge Academy provides quality early education and child care programs to children aged six weeks through kindergarten. The company currently has over 140 child care centers either open or in development throughout Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. In response to COVID-19, Lightbridge Academy launched The Lightbridge Promise as the Gold Standard for health & safety in the child care industry. In 2020, the company was featured on the Inc. 5000 ranking, Franchise Times Top 200+ awards, and on Newsweek’s 2021 list of America’s Best Customer Service. In 2022, Lightbridge Academy was featured for the 7th year on Entrepreneur Magazine's Franchise 500 and for the 2nd year on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies.

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