From The Record Fall 2023
Since 2003, the SAE Financial & Housing Corporation (SAE F&H) board and staff have been committed to preserving Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity houses across the realm through industry-leading ownership and property management.
SAE F&H preserves, protects and grows fraternity properties for the benefit of Sigma Alpha Epsilon collegians and alumni. The team is made up of six employees, along with a board of directors. Over time, the team’s priorities have grown into the present focus areas of property acquisition, property management, onsite staff development (e.g. live-in house directors), capital improvement project management, managed client growth (partnerships with alumni house corporations) and workshop style trainings for house corporation officers. Currently, they own 14 chapter houses and manage 11 additional alumni-owned chapter houses. The properties referenced span the entire lower 48 from New Hampshire to Oregon.
One of the earlier properties to be acquired by SAE F&H is the New Hampshire Beta chapter house (University of New Hampshire) located at 28 Madbury Rd in Durham, New Hampshire. New Hampshire Beta was founded on March 10, 1917. The chapter house was built ten years later in 1927. In 2006, Province Archon Emeritus Dick Hooker (Vermont Beta ‘58) reached out to SAE F&H the pending foreclosure auction of the chapter house. Knowing that once an SAE house is taken out of “SAE” handsit is generally impossible for a chapter or property to be reestablished, SAE F&H took action to enter into discussion with the financial institution holding the property.
When SAE F&H arrived to Durham soon after the call, the scene was dismal. The chapter house had “CONDEMNED” signs posted. The bank provided access to tour the inside of the building. The property was quite eerie with no inhabitants and in extreme disrepair. While dismal, SAE F&H began to visualize the special opportunity in front of them to revive a historic chapter house and work with the Fraternity Service Center to reestablish the collegiate chapter.
Approximately $2 million later, the chapter house was not only brought up to code, but completely gut renovated. You can find the intriguing before and after photos from the timeline of the property on the right page. At times it seemed like the project would never be completed.
Unfortunatley, the chapter officially closed during the process of revamping the chapter house. As with many things in life, the chapter was in much the same dismal shape as the chapter house (which they had abondoned). However, this presented the FSC with the opportunity to plan the reestablishment of a fresh colony. The FSC began the return of NHBE in 2008. Province alumnus Dick Hooker was again on the scene to work with then FSC staff member JP Andrick and SAE F&H staff member Greg Somers to coordinate the growth of the colony (now called emerging chapters) with the renovation completion of the chapter house.
Again, like with many chapters, ups and downs tend to occur over time. NHBE is no different. By February 2022, the chapter was one of the larger fraternities at UNH with 89 members. As a result of a membership review, by August 2022, the chapter had decreased to 12 members. This extreme decrease in membership again threatened the existence of the chapter house which has a capacity of 33. With the chapter unable to fill the chapter house, SAE F&H entered into a renewable, annual lease agreement with another UNH fraternity. Anticipating mitigated financial losses with this tenant for the next 3 or more years, SAE F&H was settling in for a tough mid-term performance at the property.
What SAE F&H did not know, is that of the 12 remaining collegiate NHBE members, there was a very determined and disciplined core of undergraduates who had assumed lead officer positions. These collegians, led by Eminent Archon (EA) Brendan McCarthy (NHBE ‘25), beat the odds. By August 2023, NHBE had grown to 33 members with 26 men committed to move back into the 28 Madbury Rd chapter house.
As NHBE continues to recruit new members (in October 2023, they added an additional 22 new members) and distaste their future at the University of New Hampshire, SAE F&H continues to work and help attract interested alumni to support this ambitious group, as well as provide services and advise to other chapters and house corporations across the realm. If we can help you, please reach out to JP Andrick, firstname.lastname@example.org.