Yesterday, I had the chance to be a part of the brick-laying ceremony at Garver Feed Mill in Madison, WI. This $14M+ project is something that I have been working on for a little over 2 years. My role on the team, was to line up the tax credit financing (both New Markets and Historics) and any debt. This project takes public private partnership to a new level!
As I watched the various Financing Partners come together yesterday and meet not on yet another closing call but in person, I was struck once again by the tenacity and persistence required of not only the developer, Baum Revision, but any partner who has a financial investment in the project. The list of these partners is long and includes our NMTC allocatees (National Community Investment Fund and Brownfield Revitalization), our tax credit investors (US Bank CDC and Commerce Bank), public support from the City of Madison and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and debt financing from Monona State Bank, Central State Bank of Iowa, and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. Oh – and some private equity too!
I believe what made this layer cake of financing come together was the shared commitment to this project and its promise for significant community and economic development outcomes in Madison and beyond. Whatever the structuring barrier, the financing partners worked long and late to figure out how to put this deal together. In thinking back on my two years of involvement with the project, I can’t recall a single time when any of the financing partners or development team threatened to leave the project (and take their financing too!). Rather, the team tirelessly came up with creative ways to bring the financing to bring the project to fruition. As late as yesterday morning, I have regularly heard people say, “Garver? Is that thing happening?” Yes! Yes, it is happening right now! (And our financial closing was November of 2017, btw!)
Why did the financing partners and developer hang in there for so long? I believe it comes down to one thing: a true belief in this idea that economic development, done sustainably and driven by the community, can contribute to the quality of life and wellbeing of all neighbors.
This project holds a special place in my heart because it was my first client at Hope Community Capital. I took this project on because I, like the development team, the financing partners, and most importantly the community, believe it will create a legacy of positive impact by turning a dilapidated former feed mill into a beacon of equitable development.
I think Marsha Rummel, the community’s Alder and project champion at Common Council, captured the sentiment of all who were at the bricklaying and have been a part of this project, “Groundbreaking for Garver…it took up 10 years of my life. So proud!” Proud indeed! Thank you, Baum Revision, for having the persistence and creativity to see this through.