2013 Operating Business QLICI of the Year Award Recipients

Winner

Metropolitan Ministries, MiraclePlace

Developer: MiraclePlace Inc.
CDE: Florida Community Loan Fund Inc. (FCLF)
Tampa, Fla.

Metropolitan Ministries, MiraclePlace
Photo: Courtesy of Florida Community Loan Fund
In addition to 52 newly-constructed units of transitional housing, the expansion of MiraclePlace also includes the creation of a child care facility.

One of this year’s winners for Operating Business QLICI of the Year is Florida Community Loan Fund, for helping MiraclePlace Inc. finance the construction of a 4 acre campus for the homeless in downtown Tampa, Fla. The new campus MiraclePlace, run by the nonprofit Metropolitan Ministries, will further the organization’s mission by offering education, family counseling, child care, food service facilities and transitional shelter to homeless individuals and those at risk of becoming homeless. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, in 2012 there were 16,000 homeless individuals in the Tampa Bay area, and one in five of those individuals were children. Opening in August 2013, the MiraclePlace will house 200 families and 500 children annually. The larger dining facilities will also enable Metropolitan Ministries to serve and distribute more than 2 million hot meals each year to residents in the Tampa Bay area.

Metropolitan Ministries also hopes that the MiraclePlace will directly serve at-risk low-income children by creating an on-site K-5 public elementary school. A partnership with the local public school system will enable MiraclePlace to offer small class sizes and additional social services for as many as 136 children.

The development of MiraclePlace’s new campus illustrates how the New Markets Tax Credit program can unite multiple local organizations to provide strong community impact in highly-distressed areas. Miracle Place received a $10 million NMTC investment from the Florida Community Loan Fund and a $6 million NMTC investment from Whitney CDC. MiraclePlace also received $10 million in state NMTCs and $11.5 in donations from the local community. The large infusion of private capital was also a catalyst for investors, such as JPMorgan Chase and Whitney Bank to become involved in the property.

Congratulations to the Florida Community Loan Fund for helping MiraclePlace Inc. expand its services to the low-income communities of Tampa.

Winner

Zilkha Biomass Selma LLC

Developer: Zilkha Biomass Energy LLC
CDE: AMCREF Community Capital LLC
Selma, Ala.

Zilkha Biomass Selma LLC
Photo: Courtesy of Zilkha Biomass Fuels
The Zilkha Biomass Fuels facility was converted into a renewable energy plant that has generated more than 600 jobs.

The other winner for the 2013 Operating Business Qualified Low-Income Community Investment of the Year award is AMCREF Community Capital for providing federal and state NMTC financing to Zilkha Biomass Fuels, a manufacturer of next generation “black” wood pellets for renewable energy generation. In 2010, Zilkha begin renovating an abandoned wood pellet facility in the highly distressed rural community of Selma, Ala. The innovative and green revitalization of the existing plant created a positive economic ripple effect throughout Selma and its surrounding communities. More than 175 high-quality, permanent jobs with average wages that are more than $35,000 above the regional living wage have been created. The construction phase of the renovation also generated 380 jobs. These new opportunities signified an economic victory for Selma County, which suffered from high unemployment rates after the closure of the original white pellet mill. Each year, the new facility will generate 275,000 metric tons of Zilkha Black® pellets, which will provide a cleaner, renewable alternative to coal. Zilkha’s patented black pellet, created with sawdust, wood chips and other fibrous waste, will significantly reduce CO2 and mercury emissions, as well as water pollution. A third-party IMPLAN analysis also estimated that the new plant will have a seven-year local economic impact of $616 million and a tax impact of $25 million.

Because of Zilkha’s innovative process of providing a renewable alternative to coal, and their lack of operating history, the company faced obstacles in funding this development. Because the company wasn’t a candidate for traditional bank debt, Zilkha had to explore alternative funding options, including bond offering. AMCREF also helped Zilkha structure a transaction that used both federal and Alabama state NMTCs. This helped Zilkha offset the relatively high cost of capital from alternative funding sources.

Congratulations to AMCREF Community Capital on their achievement and for helping Zilkha Biomass Energy LLC combine green innovation and economic opportunity to create valuable, high quality jobs in a low-income community.

Honorable Mention

San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind

Developer: National New Markets Fund
CDE: San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind
San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind
Photo: Courtesy of National New Markets Fund
The new San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind facility provides employment assistance, rehabilitation programs, and youth services for blind and visually impaired people.

The honorable mention for the 2013 Operating Business QLICI of the Year award goes to National New Markets Fund for financing the expansion of the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind’s new facility in San Antonio, Texas. In 2012, NNMF made a $12.7 million NMTC investment to the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind to construct a 60,000-square-foot multi-purpose facility. The new facility will provide career guidance, jobs, technology training, youth services, placement programs and a free low-vision clinic for more than 6,000 blind or severely visually impaired people annually. The center currently employs nearly 500 low-income or blind individuals.

Congratulations to the National New Markets Fund and the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind for providing underserved populations with the education and training necessary to effectively integrate into academic and social environments.

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