QLICI of the Year Award Winners Highlight Diversity of NMTC Investments

Published by Brad Stanhope on Friday, July 8, 2022
Journal Cover Thumb July 2022

A groundbreaking development to drive cultural and economic expansion in Los Angeles, a thriving operating business in Indian Country, a bakery in Atlanta that will hire almost exclusively low-income residents and a much-needed facility for an automotive technology program are winners of the 2022 Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits Community Development Qualified Low-Income Community Investments (QLICIs) of the Year honors.

The QLICI of the Year Awards recognize participants who strive for excellence in community development. Awards go to the community development entities (CDEs) for their QLICIs in properties in four categories: metro, nonmetro, operating business and real estate. The winners were honored at the Novogradac 2022 Spring New Markets Tax Credit Conference, June 9-10 in Washington, D.C.

“These investments really display the variety of ways that new markets tax credit (NMTC) investment can make a difference,” said Gregory Clements, a Novogradac partner and chair of the conference. “The winners are a wide range of properties and businesses, all in different parts of the country. These are great examples of the good that the NMTC does for all types of low-income communities.”

The winners are:

Metro QLICI

Four CDEs–U.S. Bancorp Community Development Entity (USBCDE), Lendistry, Building America CDE Inc. and New Markets Support Co. (LISC LA)–combined on $30 million in NMTC allocation to support Destination Crenshaw, a 1.3-mile stretch of Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles that will provide a boost to the community with economic development, job creation and environmental healing while celebrating Black art and culture.

The vision for Destination Crenshaw began in 2016 after a planned Crenshaw LAX train was set to run through the heart of Black Los Angeles. A three-year period of community engagement brought the final project: an outdoor art museum and culture commerce corridor designed to revitalize the neighborhood and create an economic center.

2022 QLICI Awards - Metro - winner

 

Sankofa Park, a 40,000-square-foot area that includes green space, will feature various art installations from Black artists and will be used for educational and economic programming. Destination Crenshaw also includes DC Thrive, a business resiliency program for minority-owned legacy businesses. When completed, Destination Crenshaw will help sustain 30 local Black and minority-owned businesses and nonprofits, create 60 permanent jobs and more than 100 construction jobs. It will also provide public art commissions and certification for more than 100 local artists and micro businesses while serving more than 250 students annually through educational programming.

The NMTC allocations are $5 million from USBCDE, $10 million from Lendistry, $8 million from Building America CDE and $7 million from New Markets Support Company. U.S. Bank invested $30 million in NMTC equity.

“This is an innovative use of NMTCs to fund working capital for community development,” said Elaine DiPietro of Blooming Ventures LLC, a QLICI of the Year judge.

Nonmetro QLICI

A $3.3 million NMTC allocation from USBCDE helped finance the acquisition of an operating business for the processing and distribution of wild rice, along with other provisions to strengthen the operation of Ogaakaaning Wild Rice at the Red Lake Nation of Chippewa in Bemidji, Minnesota–the first such business for the tribe located off the Red Lake Nation Reservation.

The funding will also provide additional equipment and inventory for Ogaakaaning Wild Rice and will provide financing to multiple qualified low-income community businesses that are owned or led by Native American individuals or tribes. Ogaakaaning Wild Rice processes, distributes and sells northern Minnesota and Canadian wild rice, a food with historical, spiritual and cultural importance for the Ojibwe people.

2022 QLICI Awards - Non-Metro - winner

 

USBCDE used its allocation authority to advance a loan to Travois New Markets, which then advanced a QLICI loan to Ogaakaaning Wild Rice, the qualified active low-income community business.

The transaction allowed the acquisition of the operating business and provided nearly $1 million in working capital, maintaining day-to-day operations of the existing business and diversifying Red Lake Incorporated’s mission to grow and diversify its portfolio of businesses and to advance economic and food security for the Red Lake Nation.

Operating Business

Coffee Café Bakery in Atlanta will create more than 100 jobs, 98% of them for low-income persons or residents of low-income communities, thanks in part to NMTCs allocated by the Rose Urban Green Fund and DV Community Investment.

The joint venture between four minority business owners will renovate and fully equip an existing 31,150-square-foot warehouse into a small central baking facility and create a business in an area that has a poverty rate of 35% and an unemployment rate nearly four times the national average.

2022 QLICI Awards - Operating Business - winner

 

The bakery will feature state-of-the-art equipment to create an estimated 31 million baked goods each year. The facility is strategically located to support delivery of baked products within a 100-mile radius without exceeding the allocated time for delivery.

Without the NMTCs ($8.5 million allocation from The Rose Urban Green Fund, $6 million allocation from DV Community Investment) leading to an equity investment from Truist Community Capital, Coffee Café Bakery would not have been able to fund the construction nor purchase the equipment nor delivery trucks.

Real Estate

A combined $15.5 million in NMTC allocation from three CDEs–Cinnaire ($9 million), Indianapolis Redevelopment CDE ($5 million) and PNC Community Partners Inc. ($1.5 million)–led to the development of the Ivy Tech Automotive Technology Center, a new facility for the Ivy Tech Community College’s Automotive Technology Program in Indianapolis, Indiana.

2022 QLICI Awards - Real Estate - winner

 

The $16 million, 59,000-square foot educational facility for Ivy Tech–Indiana’s largest college–is expected to increase the annual number of students from 300 to 600 and include a paid cooperative education opportunity with 100% job placement at Toyota and General Motors for qualifying candidates. Graduates of the program are expected to earn an average annual salary of $50,000, helping revitalize the community, which includes the Lafayette Square Area, which the city is revitalizing.

The center, which opened in the fall of 2021, enhances the community through workforce development, job training, increased employment, utility upgrades and green infrastructure such as sidewalks, bike racks and storage and permeable pavement. The NMTC funding, in an investment from the Ivy Tech Foundation, Inc., closed the property’s funding gap and made it financially viable.

Honorable Mentions

Metro: Marygrove Education Center, Detroit (CDEs: Capital Impact Partners, McCormack Baron Salazar, Cinnaire)

Nonmetro: Matthews International–Searcy, Searcy Arkansas (CDEs: MuniStrategies, Truist Community Capital)

Operating Businesses: Petoskey Plastics, McKinney, Texas (CDEs: AMCREF Community Capital, Texas Mezzanine Fund Inc., PNC Community Partners Inc.)

Real Estate: Byrd Barr Place, Seattle (CDEs: USBCDE, ESIC New Markets Partners LP)