Who We Are
TUFF is a developer and advisor focused on creating vibrant physical environments for institutions of education and research.
Our True North is to provide facilities that exceed expectations. We do this by understanding the human and institutional needs of the facilities we develop. We are developers with a purpose: Increase the impact of your institution.
As a mission-driven, not-for-profit organization, we deliver facilities by:
- Identifying each institution’s unique attributes
- Leveraging our own financial and intellectual resources
- Creating tailored, below-market economic transaction structures for the facilities we own
Through careful consideration of institutional potential, we develop facilities that are more than just buildings. They are communities of education and research that encourage economic growth and accelerate innovation.
The Beginning of TUFF
In 1982, Georgia Tech’s President, Joseph Pettit, aspired to create a research enterprise at the university. He envisioned a community of education and innovation similar to what he experienced during his tenure at Stanford.
President Pettit’s mandate was to create a development strategy that:
- Provided the highest quality building
- Utilized a below-market lease structure
- Allowed Georgia Tech to capture indirect cost recovery for the lease payments
The result was the University Financing Foundation, or “TUFF,” a 501(c)(3) operating foundation. TUFF’s mission was – and still is – to help institutions of education and research obtain facilities and equipment at below-market costs.
TUFF’s first engagement also resulted in Georgia Tech’s Centennial Research Building, a project that followed President Pettit’s mandate and enabled the creation of a vibrant research enterprise.
The project also established TUFF as the nation’s premier not-for-profit developer specializing in programmatic solutions in advance of real estate solutions.