New Markets Tax Credits News Briefs - October 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

National New Markets Fund LLC, a Los Angeles-based firm, has closed a $12.7 million new markets tax credit (NMTC) allocation for nonprofit organization San Antonio (Texas) Lighthouse for the Blind (SALB). Funds will help build a new 60,000-square-foot rehabilitation and manufacturing facility. After construction on the new facility is completed, SALB will hire an additional 100 full-time blind workers. Part of the funding will also establish the first free low-vision clinic in San Antonio and Texas’ first Blind Youth Education program.

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The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) published the latest edition of its electronic Community Developments Investments newsletter, entitled “Bank Financing of Healthy-Food Initiatives.” It details the efforts to use NMTCs to increase healthier food access in low-income, urban communities. The newsletter also explores how banks can use other public-private partnerships through programs sponsored by the U.S. Departments of Treasury, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services. These partnerships may be a positive consideration in a bank’s Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) initiatives. Access the newsletter at www.occ.gov.

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The OCC released its list of CRA performance evaluations that became public between Aug. 1 and Aug. 31. It contains 29 evaluations from national banks, federal savings associations and insured federal branches of foreign banks. Of those evaluated, five were rated as outstanding: City National Bank of Florida in Miami, Fla.; AB&T National Bank in Albany, Ga.; TD Bank USA N.A. in Portland, Maine; Colonial Bank FSB in Vineland, N.J.; and The Ephrata National Bank in Ephrata, Pa. The rest of the 24 institutions received a satisfactory rating. None were rated needs to improve or substantial noncompliance. The evaluations are available on www.occ.gov.

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The Los Angeles Dream Center, a volunteer organization servicing 50,000 people each month, has received $49.7 million in NMTC allocation to complete its transformation of the former Queen of Angels Hospital campus into multi family housing. Located just east of Los Angeles’ Echo Park, the transformation will turn 400,000 square feet of currently unused space into housing for low-income residents. The Dream Center provides a range of rehabilitation programs, such as transitional shelter for the homeless and foster care intervention. Construction will increase the number of Dream Center residents from 650 to nearly 1,000 and is expected to be completed by late 2013. The NMTC allocation includes $16.3 million from National New Markets Fund, $16.1 million from Opportunity Fund, $10 million from Los Angeles Development Fund, $5 million from Chase New Markets Corporation and $2.3 million from New Markets Community Capital. Chase was the tax credit investor.

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The Kent State University Foundation received $9 million in NMTCs from Finance Fund and $6.5 million from Development Fund of the Western Reserve (DFWR) to build the 95-room Kent State University Hotel & Conference Center in downtown Kent, Ohio. Situated in a community with a 29 percent poverty rate, the development of the property is meant to boost the local economy. Construction of the new hotel and 5,400-square-foot conference center will create 430 construction jobs and 42 permanent jobs once the building opens in spring 2013. Developers expect employers and organizations from the Kent and Akron areas to use the conference center. For the development, the Kent State University Foundation partnered with the Pizzuti Companies of Columbus, the city of Kent, DFWR and Finance Fund.

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