What is my involvement in the tower site?

Varsity will perform its own due diligence including title, survey, environmental studies and take all necessary steps to obtain zoning approvals and permits. Your cooperation and patience with those efforts is all we require. There will be periodic visits to your property by Varsity and our vendors. Varsity will always be your point of contact for any work performed at your property.

What expenses will I incur as part of this transaction?

Varsity will pay all costs to develop, build and operate the tower site. However, unless you are comfortable reviewing the Option and Ground Lease Agreement, Varsity recommends that you have an attorney review the document at your expense.

How much space will be needed to build the tower site?

We typically seek a area of 5,000 – 8,000 square feet of ground space. We will also require 20ft wide easement over your property to the leased area for vehicle access and utilities. Depending on the local zoning requirements, the leased area may need to be set back from the edge of your property by at least the height of the tower.

How long will it take for the tower to be built?

Under “normal” conditions, the actual construction of the tower site will take only a few weeks. Due diligence studies such as title, survey and environmental will require approximately 90 to 120 days. However, obtaining and securing the necessary zoning and regulatory approvals will likely take the longest period, in many cases requiring 120 days to as long as 18 months. Varsity will engage professionals throughout the development process to ensure we compress this period to acquire the necessary permits.

How often will people be at my property?

You will see the most activity at your property during the construction of the tower site and installation of individual carrier equipment on the tower. Once installed on the tower, the Carrier’s technical representatives will visit the site periodically (once per month / once per quarter) to adjust their equipment installed in cabinets or shelters at the base of the tower. Varsity will also visit the site periodically (once per quarter or twice a year) to ensure the site is properly maintained and operating correctly.

What are the risks associated with having a cell site on my property?

There are few, if any, risks to the property owner from a properly maintained and secured tower site.

Why do I want a cell tower on my property?

Money is no doubt a chief motivator for entering into a tower ground lease agreement. If selected, you will establish a revenue stream for years to come, adding substantial value to your property with little or no inconvenience. The other benefits are improved wireless services for your community enhancing public safety, education and the local economy. However, it is important to consider what some people consider to be the negative effects. Towers more often than not blend into the surroundings. But many consider towers to be an eyesore. If you are concerned about the opinions of those in your community that may oppose a tower site on your property, then a tower site on your property may not be worth all the benefits it delivers to you.

What type of contract is used to document the transaction?

Varsity uses an “Option and Ground Lease” to secure its right to develop and operate a tower on your property. This agreement provides two distinct periods for our relationship: an “Option Period” and a “Ground Lease”. The Option Period is typically a two or three 18 month periods secured by a small upfront payment. Varsity uses the Option Period to perform a number of studies to determine the suitability of your property for use as a tower site and secure its building permit. Once Varsity obtains its permit and secures an anchor tenant, Varsity will send the land owner written notice of its intent to commence the “Ground Lease” and begin paying the agreed upon monthly rent. Our Ground Lease consists of a five-year initial term, with nine (9) 5 -year renewal periods and details all terms of Varsity’s access and use of the property.

How much will I be paid?

A number of factors will determine the rent you receive, including the property location, type of property, the availability and number of competing locations, costs associated with development and construction of the site, and the number of prospective carriers. Varsity typically pays a landowner a monthly rent of between $500 and $1,250 during the ground lease term, which rent will increase 10% at the beginning of each renewal term.

What important business terms should I expect to see in the contract?
The agreement provides for an Option Period and if exercised a Ground Lease Period (discussed above). Additional terms include:
  • Use of the property to construct and operate a communications facility and tower and sublease space to one or more wireless service providers
  • Leased Premises typically 75’ x 75 are (5,625 square feet) including an access and utility easement
  • Monthly Rent and escalators
  • 24/7 Access to operate the tower site
  • Utilities, Real Estate Taxes, and operating expenses associated with the tower site are to be paid by Varsity.
Does it matter if my property has a mortgage?

Most properties have some sort of mortgage, and it is not a problem. However, Varsity will require a subordination and non-disturbance agreement executed by you and your lender. The SNDA is common document, but can be a time consuming process for properties that are under water or have other complicating factors affecting the mortgage.