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Tax Credit Industry Awards: Winners and Honorable Mentions

1 Oct 2014

The 2014 Historic Development that Best Demonstrates Financial Innovation Award is presented to Green Coast Enterprises (GCE) for rehabilitating four historic buildings into The Community Green at Washington & Broad in New Orleans, La. The Community Green at Washington & Broad is a 28,000-square-foot commercial development that features a community health center, office buildings, restaurants and retailers. Built at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Broad Street in the 1920s and 1930s, several commercial buildings were left vacant after Hurricane Katrina. Regina LaMacchia, special assistant to the partners at GCE, reports that subsequent arson, vagrancy and vandalism contributed to the buildings’ decline.

GCE demonstrated financial innovation by combining multiple public and private funding sources to finance The Community Green. The $8.7 million development was financed by federal and state rehabilitation historic tax credits (HTCs), federal new market tax credits (NMTCs) and funding from the Louisiana Office of Community Development, Community Development Block Grants, the Louisiana Project Based Opportunity Program (PROP) and the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority.

The Community Green has had a significant positive effect on the vibrancy of the surrounding neighborhoods, having sparked numerous commercial and residential projects in the community. LaMacchia said that before The Community Green was completed and leased, less than half the commercial space in the intersection was occupied; now more than two-thirds of that commercial space is in use.

“Nicely combined equity financing from federal historic and state tax credits and debt financing through new markets tax credits, state financing and community development block grant funds.”

— Michael Saad, Squire Sanders