QLICI of the Year Awards Honor a Variety of Developments

Published by Brad Stanhope on Thursday, July 1, 2021
Journal Cover Thumb July 2021

A one-stop service center for low-income special needs individuals in San Antonio and the only physical career and technical education high school in the Oglala Lakota Nation in South Dakota are among the winners of the 2021 Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits Community Development Qualified Low-Income Community Investment of the Year Awards.

The awards go to participants who strive for excellence in community development and are presented to community development entities (CDEs) that make qualified low-income community investments (QLICIs) in five categories: operating business, metro, nonmetro, small business and real estate. In addition to the properties in San Antonio and Pine Ridge, South Dakota, this year’s winners come from Richmond, Virginia; Baltimore and Syracuse, New York.

The winners will be honored at the Novogradac 2021 New Markets Tax Credit Fall Conference Oct. 28-29 in Austin, Texas.

The winners are:

Metro QLICI of the Year

Three CDEs–DVE Community Investment, PeopleFund NMTC LLC and CCG Community Partners LLC–provided a combined QLICI of $22 million to help finance the Multi-Assistance Center (MAC) at Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio, Texas. The MAC is the new construction of a 165,000-square-foot property that will serve as a one-stop service center to coordinate care for low-income special needs individuals and their families in an area with a 31.7% poverty rate.

Of that space, 109,000 square feet will be leased for medical, social and community services and the additional 56,000 square feet will be common areas. More than 40 nonprofit and for-profit service providers will join in a common mission. The property will provide 375,000 visits when it is at full operation, providing about 40,000 unique special needs individuals with services that include medical, care coordination, community and support. More than 75% of the individuals served are expected to be low-income residents and 65% are expected to be members of minority groups.

The new markets tax credit (NMTC) allocations (DV Community Investment provided $9 million in NMTCs, PeopleFund NMTC LLC provided $8 million and CCG Community Partners LLC provided $5 million) allow MAC to offer tenant and service providers lease rates at about half of the market rate. The NMTCs supplemented a capital campaign and provided credit support.

“This is an impressive project to provide comprehensive and well-organized care for people with special needs,” said Elaine DiPietro of Blooming Ventures LLC, a judge for the awards. “Having to navigate different service providers and processes can be an unnecessary additional burden for people already living with additional needs. The MAC will reduce this burden and lead to people accessing more consistent care.”

Non-Metro QLICI of the Year

The participation of two CDEs–USBCDE LLC and Dakotas America LLC–allowed the construction of a career technical high school in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, within the Oglala Lakota Nation. Lakota Tech will be an 80,000-square-foot public high school, the only physical career and technical education high school within the Oglala Lakota Nation.

Oglala Lakota Nation is the second-largest American Indian reservation in the United States and is one of the most impoverished areas in the nation, with a poverty rate of 44%. The school has capacity for 400 students and will graduate more than 100 students each year with career readiness skills in an area that has an unemployment rate as high as 80%. The school district population is 99.9% American Indian/Alaskan Native and less than 25% of eighth-graders graduate from  high school.

The NMTC financing, coming from a $3.5 million QLICI from USBCDE LLC, and a $20 million QLICI from Dakotas America LLC, will allow the school district to better serve local residents and will free up money to spend on equipment and services for students across the district’s five other locations. The construction created 100 jobs and an additional 50 permanent jobs were created.

“The high school not only provides a physical educational setting for American Indian students living in one of the nation’s most impoverished communities, it will also graduate students with career readiness skills to help tackle high unemployment in the area,” said Maria Bustria-Glickman of U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, a judge for the awards.

Operating Business QLICI of the Year

TemperPack Virginia Inc. will benefit from a $15 million QLICI by AMCREF Community Capital that enabled it to expand its production capacity in a severely distressed area with 41.9% poverty and a 17% unemployment rate.

The company’s ClimaCell insulated shipping containers replace nonrecyclable Styrofoam and plastic and are designed to be recycled alongside cardboard. The extra capital allowed TemperPack to purchase advanced automation equipment.

TemperPack began as a garage-based business in 2015 and now has more than 300,000 square feet of manufacturing space. The company sought to accelerate its plans to expand operations and increase hiring, but had difficulty with expansion capital. The NMTC funding allowed TemperPack to transition staffing agency jobs to full-time, skilled jobs. The project is expected to create 77 new direct permanent jobs and retain another 151 permanent jobs.

“This project is a great job creator and is manufacturing a recyclable insulated packaging which will provide long-term benefits to all of us,” said DiPietro.

Small Business QLICI of the Year

Paul’s Place–Groundwork Kitchen will provide a 15,000-square-foot culinary arts training center, restaurant and carryout shop in Baltimore, thanks to a $5.5 million QLICI by Cinnaire New Markets and a $5 million QLICI by The Community Builders Inc.

Nonprofit Paul’s Place, established in 1982, is launching Groundwork Kitchen as an entry-level culinary arts training program to stimulate the local economy, strengthen the community and transform lives. The 15,000-square-foot building will include a 150-seat restaurant and training facilities for classes of up to 15 people ages 18 to 80 can learn front-house and back-of-house skills for the hospitality industry. Sixty adults per year will graduate with the skills to land hospitality jobs.

The project had a financing gap after receiving several key contributions. The NMTCs allowed the development to move forward and create an expected 122 jobs.

“This will provide jobs and offer opportunities for low-income people to learn skills that will make them employable in the ever-growing hospitality industry,” said DiPietro. “People need opportunities for jobs that actually exist–being well-trained in various aspects of working in a restaurant is a very marketable skill with many opportunities for employment.”

Real Estate QLICI of the Year

QLICIs by the The Rose Urban Green Fund LLC and Chase New Markets Corporation helped provide the way for the development of Salt City Market in Syracuse, New York.

Salt City Market is a new 78,000-square-foot mixed-used development on a formerly vacant lot at the intersection of three impoverished neighborhoods. It will feature a 24,000-square-foot public market and grocery store on the first floor, a nonprofit office space on the second floor and 26 mixed-income apartments on the upper two floors. It also includes 10 food incubator stalls for food entrepreneurs, of which 100% are minority or women-owned business. It will include a partnership with UpStart, a regional training program that provides comprehensive business training and technical assistance for business owners, focused on communities of color and immigrant communities. The grocery store provides access to healthy foods in an area that does not have readily available produce.

The $16.01 million QLICI by The Rose Urban Green Fund LLC, and an additional $2 million from Chase New Markets Corporation, filled the gap in funding and allows the owner to offer below-market rental rates, capital investment in common-space amenities and to support operations staff and management.

“This mixed-use development was intentional about its focus on creating access and partnerships in support of local, minority owned food businesses,” said Bustria-Glickman.

Honorable Mentions

Metro: Madam Walker Legacy Center, Indianapolis, Indiana (CDE: Indianapolis Redevelopment CDE LLC)

Non-Metro: Coastal Growers LLC, Atmore, Alabama (CDEs: MuniStrategies, UB Community Development, NIF, Rural Development Partners, Waveland)

Operating Business: Loving Arms LLC, Memphis and Jackson, Tennessee (CDEs: USBCDE LLC, Empowerment Reinvestment Fund LLC)

Small Business: Green Era Sustainability Campus, Chicago (CDEs: MBS Urban Initiatives CDE, LLC; DV Community Investment; Southside Community Optimal Redevelopment Enterprise LLC; USBCDE LLC)

Real Estate: New Market West, Philadelphia (CDEs: Cinnaire New Markets LLC; PIDC Community Capital; PNC Community Partners, Inc.; Commonwealth Cornerstone Group)