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St. Louis firms awarded $300 million in New Markets Tax Credits

St. Louis firms awarded $300 million in New Markets Tax Credits

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Multiple banks, the city of St. Louis' development arm and developers were awarded $300 million funding in the latest round of federal New Markets Tax Credits. 

Seventy-six entities nationwide were awarded $3.5 billion in tax credits in its 2014 round of funding, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund announced Monday. 

The funding round is the most awarded to St. Louis area organizations since 2009, when $250 million was awarded locally. 

The tax credits make gap funding available for retail, manufacturing and office developments in low-income urban neighborhoods and rural communities. 

The local recipients are: 

• Enterprise Financial CDE LLC, $65 million

• MBS Urban Initiatives CDE  LLC (McCormack Baron Salazar), $55 million

• US Bank CDE LLC $55 million

• Midwest Industrial Redevelopment Fund LLC, $50 million

• Heartland Regional Investment Fund L.L.C., $30 million

• St. Louis Development Corp., $45 million

Laurel Tinsley, senior vice president of New Markets Tax Credits at St. Louis-based developer McCormack Baron Salazar, said the firm plans to use its funding for healthy foods projects such as small footprint grocery stores. 

"New Markets Tax Credits are one of the few resources that really can get down to benefiting low income communities by bringing jobs and services back to a community," Tinsley said. 

McCormack Baron Salazar uses its own tax credits and partners with other NMTC recipients to finance developments nationwide. One of its local developments that was financed with New Markets Tax Credits was the Flance Center, an early childhood education center that opened last year in the Murphy Park housing development north of downtown St. Louis.

Other local projects that have used New Markets Tax Credits for financing include the $70 million restoration of the Central Library downtown and the headquarters for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri in Grand Center. 

The city's development arm, the SLDC, said it plans to use the latest round of tax credits to offer flexible financing alternatives for job-producing real estate and business projects that leverage private investment. Projects that produce jobs and help eliminate blight will be given preference after submitting proposals to the city, said SLDC's executive director Otis Williams. 

Since 2000, the SLDC has received $308 million in New Markets Tax Credit authority. Prior to this round, 36 projects were funded with the SLDC'sc $263 million in New Markets Tax Credits.

The New Markets Tax Credits program has been a valuable tool for redeveloping and strengthening St. Louis neighborhoods, Williams said. "It really helps with projects on the edge, where there's a financing gap," he said. 

Lisa Brown • 314-340-8127

@lisabrownstl on Twitter

lbrown@post-dispatch.com

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