Crown Square Helps to Revitalize Neighborhood

Crown Square Helps to Revitalize Neighborhood
ST. LOUIS, MO - The Regional Housing and Community Development Alliance, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group and Enterprise Community Investment, Inc. (Enterprise) today announced the opening of Crown Square, a $35 million restoration of twenty-seven buildings now comprised of retail/commercial space and homes, transforming what was the 14th Street pedestrian mall.

"Crown Square is a key component to the revitalization of this community," said Stephen Acree, president, Regional Housing and Community Development Alliance. "The investment in these buildings has created jobs through small businesses and homes for people in every economic sector. This neighborhood used to be a strong commercial center in St. Louis and we are excited that it has a chance to be so again."

Just down the street from the historic Crown Candy Kitchen, the new development offers 34,000 square feet of street level commercial and retail space and 80 mixed-income rental homes including apartments, townhomes, live and work spaces and lofts. More than half of the homes are designated for low-income households and the remaining 38 apartments are available at market rate. As part of the neighborhood redevelopment, $2 million was invested in storm and sanitary sewer construction, utility relocation, parking areas, public lighting, grid integration and other public amenities to support a strengthened infrastructure.

"Housing is an important factor in the rebuilding of neighborhoods," said John Ducey, vice president of structured finance, Enterprise. "However providing commercial development where people can own their own businesses and become a part of the economic fabric of a city is just as important. Crown Square is a great addition to St. Louis because it was designed to provide both."

Financing for Crown Square was made possible by a mix of federal and state tax credits, and public and private funds. A large portion of the financing was made available through New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC), one of the most successful federal financing tools that funds the construction of commercial and residential/retail mixed-use properties in low-income areas. Enterprise provided a $12.5 million NMTC allocation and McCormack Baron Salazar in St. Louis allocated $5 million in the tax credits. US Bank is the investor for both allocations.

Since its inception, more than $16 billion in private capital has been raised by NMTCs to support more than 15,000 businesses. It has also helped to develop or rehabilitate more than 68 million square feet of real estate, and has created more than 300,000 jobs in low-income communities.

"The construction of Crown Square helps to build lifelines in this community," said Constantino (Tino) Ochoa, president of the board of directors, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group. "It's our goal to help rebuild Old North St. Louis with properties that respect the cultural, historic and urban character of the neighborhood. We welcome the old and new friends that will join our community because of Crown Square."

In addition to NMTC equity, US Bank also provided funding through other federal and state Historic Tax Credits. CityScape Capital Group supplied $1.7 million in federal Historic Tax Credit equity and PNC Multifamily Capital invested $4.94 million in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity. Enterprise Bank & Trust (not related to Enterprise Community Investment), with participation from Pulaski Bank, provided $7.33 million in tax-exempt bonds. Enterprise Bank also provided bridge financing. Missouri LIHTC equity was invested into the property through Horizon Asset Management. The City of St. Louis and the State of Missouri provided HOME funds. A Community Development Block Grant and Affordable Housing Trust funds were also supplied by the City of St. Louis. Other financial partners are the Danforth Foundation, the East-West Gateway Council of Governments/Missouri Department of Transportation and Fannie Mae. The Regional Housing and Community Development Alliance and Enterprise Community Loan Fund provided predevelopment loans during the first stage of the Crown Square project.

Enterprise is a leading provider of the development capital and expertise it takes to create decent, affordable homes and rebuild communities. For more than 25 years, Enterprise has introduced neighborhood solutions through public-private partnerships with financial institutions, governments, community organizations and others that share our vision. Enterprise has raised and invested more than $10 billion in equity, grants and loans to help build or preserve more than 270,000 affordable rental and for-sale homes to create vital communities. Enterprise is currently investing in communities at a rate of $1 billion a year.
Source: Enterprise Community Investment

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