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2015 HTC Development that Best Demonstrates Financial Innovation


Myrtle Banks Building

Developer: Alembic Community Development
Owner: Alembic Community Development
Location: New Orleans

2015 Historic Rehabilitation Awards Financial Innovation Winner Myrtle Banks BuildingAlembic Community Development won the 2015 Historic Development that Best Demonstrates Financial Innovation award for rehabilitating the historic elementary school building into a fresh food and community center in New Orleans. The Myrtle Banks Building now houses a 23,000-square-foot Jack & and Jake's Public Market; co-working office space for nonprofit, social and creative entrepreneurs; and artist exhibition space.

Alembic Community Development demonstrated financial innovation by combining various and diverse private and public funding sources and tax credit incentive to finance the redevelopment of the Myrtle Banks Building. The $13.7 million development was financed by a new markets tax credit (NMTC) leveraged lender structure; federal and state historic rehabilitation tax credits (HTCs); loans from the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority and state Office of Community Development, which deployed U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Disaster Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds; and mezzanine financing from The Prudential Company of America's Social Investments Program. In addition to allocating and investing in NMTCs, First NBC Bank provided permanent and bridge loans to the project, while Stonehenge Capital Company served as an investor for the state HTCs. Alembic Community Development provided substantial owner equity.

The developer also overcame significant financial hurdles. Brad Calloway, executive vice president of First NBC bank, said due to population loss from Hurricane Katrina between the 2000 and 2010 U.S. Censuses, the property's census tract was redrawn and the new tract became ineligible for NMTCs. This unforeseen challenge forced Alembic to gather funding sources and close the transaction on a tight timeframe while the project still retained its NMTC eligibility. In addition, Alembic also assisted market operator Jack & Jake's Inc. in securing $3.4 million financing for its tenant build-out and working capital, including a $1 million loan from the city of New Orleans' Fresh Food Retailer Initiative.

The Myrtle Banks Building had a positive effect on the local community, becoming a model for adaptive reuse projects in New Orleans, while also providing much-need fresh food in an area established as a food desert. Alembic has also partnered with the New Orleans Department of Health on an impact assessment that included a yearlong planning process convening community stakeholders to pursue the project's promise for impacting public health outcomes in the neighborhood.

"Incredible effort to bring back to life a building that could have easily met its fate with the wrecking ball." – John Tess, Heritage Consulting Group

Honorable Mention

The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design

Developer: Gerding Edlen
Owner: Pacific Northwest College of Art
Location: Portland, Ore.

2015 Historic Rehabilitation Awards Financial Innovation Honorable Mention The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and DesignGerding Edlen received an honorable mention for the 2015 Historic Development that Best Demonstrates Financial Innovation for renovating a historic post office building into a creative center for the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) in Portland, Ore. The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design is a 135,000-square-foot building that houses instructional space classrooms, studios, laboratories, and supporting administrative and faculty spaces. It also includes the Career Incubator and Project Space, which is dedicated to helping launch new creative businesses and enterprises through workspace, research and shop facilities, and professional workshops, seminars and visiting lectures. Sarah Zahn, senior project manager at Gerding Edlen, said the new space will accommodate the anticipated growth of PNCA's student enrollment to approximately 1,000 full-time students by 2020. 

The rehabilitation of The Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design demonstrated financial innovation because it brought together a variety of federal and state sources totaling $32.8 million. They included historic tax credits (HTCs), federal and state new market tax credits (NMTCs), loans from the Meyer Memorial Trust Program Related Investment and the Portland Development Commission Permanent Loan, funds from PNCA Capital Campaign and a grant from the Portland Development Commission.

"This project successfully utilized both state and federal NMTCs, Portland Development Commission loans, and private capital contributions, in addition to HTCs to rehabilitate the anchor building on the school's campus." – Cathleen Beauchamp, Symetra Financial Corporation

Return to 2015 Historic Rehabilitation Award Recipients

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