2015 Operating Business QLICI of the Year Award Recipients

Winner

Winston Plywood & Veneer

CDE: MuniStrategies LLC 
Developer: Winston Plywood & Veneer LLC
Owner: New Wood Resources LLC
Location: Louisville, Miss.

2015 QLICIs of the Year Awards Operating Business Category Winner, Winston Plywood & Veneer

MuniStrategies LLC wins the 2015 Operating Business QLICI of the Year Award for its investment in Winston Plywood & Veneer (WPV) in Louisville, Miss. In April 2014, the town was devastated by an EF-4 tornado, which killed 10 people and destroyed more than 1,000 structures, including the 265,000-square-foot WPV plywood lumber mill. The town was declared a federal disaster area by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

After the tornado devastated the area and facility, WPV partnered with city officials, including Mayor Will Hill, and FEMA, and determined the outside structure of the facility was eligible for FEMA public assistance grants. The $43 million grant, along with equity raised from new markets tax credits (NMTCs), enabled WPV to develop a new state-of-the-art mill building. Alan Lange, managing director of MuniStrategies LLC, said the new facility is will serve as an anchor for the local economy. The building will be developed to help weather economic downturns, produce larger volumes of plywood for less cost and employ 400 local residents, double the amount the previous facility employed.

WPV overcame several financing hurdles to redevelopment the mill. One of the significant problems was the status of the equipment.  Much of the equipment needed to operate the plant had to be substantially repaired.  Lange said it was difficult to finance the repair of used equipment with traditional financial methods, as well as determining the equipment's collateral value.  As a result, MuniStrategies worked with the company executives and local and state officials to have NMTC financing serve as the financing vehicle for this particularly difficult part of the capital stack. MuniStrategies was able to create an innovative financing model that provided $12 million in federal and $9.2 million in state NMTC financing to bridge this capital gap shortfall and fund equipment repair/replacement in conjunction with FEMA CDBG Grant funding, Appalachian Regional Commission Grants and other local/state economic incentives. 

Lange said the development will create more than 600 jobs, $28 million in annual wages and nearly $9 million annually in other local purchases. Across the broader 33-county region, the impact jumps to a projected $66 million in annual wages, more than $105 million annually in other local purchases and more than 1,400 jobs. WPV, which made a $50,000 per year commitment to MuniStrategies to fund workforce development during the seven-year compliance period, has already started recruiting in conjunction with East Central Community College and Winston County WIN Job Centers.

"This is a fantastic story about perseverance and commitment after the devastation in Louisville following the EF-4 tornado. The direct impacts are great, but the heart that Winston showed will bind this community for generations, undoubtedly leading to a thriving community," said Eric Rosen, a 2015 Community Development QLICIs of the Year Awards judge.

Honorable Mention

Atlantic Healthy Foods

CDEs: ESIC New Markets Partners Limited Partnership, Urban Action Community Development LLC, Consortium America LLC, The Valued Advisors Fund LLC and United Fund Advisors LLC
Developer: Castellini Holding Company LLC
Owner: Castellini Holding Company LLC
Location: Ellenwood, Ga.

2015 QLICIs of the Year Awards Operating Business Category Honorable Mention, Atlantic Healthy Foods

The honorable mention for the 2015 Operating Business QLICI of the Year Award goes to ESIC New Markets Partners Limited Partnership, Urban Action Community Development LLC, Consortium America LLC, The Valued Advisors Fund LLC and United Fund Advisors LLC for their investment in Atlantic Healthy Foods in Ellenwood, Ga. Atlanta Healthy Foods is a 178,000-square-foot refrigerated produce processing and distribution facility with 14,620 square feet of office space.

Development partners expect Atlanta Healthy foods will have a significant effect on the Ellenwood area, which has an unemployment rate twice the national average. Elaine DiPietro, vice president of Enterprise Community Investment Inc., the parent company of ESIC, said that the development is expected to provide 360 construction jobs and create 300 new, living-wage jobs with health and retirement benefits. The $51.4 million development was funded using a combination of public and private sources, including $40.7 million in new markets tax credit (NMTC) allocation from several community development entities.

"Hats off to the many NMTC participants in closing what looks like a highly complex transaction including eight different CDEs," said John Chamberlain, a 2015 Community Development QLICIs of the Year Awards judge.

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