LVEDC 2015 Year in Review: Financing
By Colin McEvoy on January 5, 2016
It has been another successful year for the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation’s (LVEDC) financing programs, which provide much-needed capital for companies looking to relocate, expand, or start in our region.
LVEDC provided access to $24.1 million in financing that was closed in the year 2015, supporting about a dozen projects that led to the creation of 1,096 jobs and the retention of 1,031 more, according to John Kingsley, LVEDC Vice President of Finance.
Additionally, LVEDC is continuing to provide support for $25.5 million in financing for applications that were worked on in 2015 or earlier, but have not yet closed. That financing supports $300 million worth of projects that, when complete, may create roughly 8,000 new jobs and help retain almost 1,800.
“LVEDC has one of the most extensive and comprehensive economic development financing divisions in Pennsylvania,” Kingsley said. “We’re proud to work with a variety of organizations that share our mission of enabling businesses to flourish in the Lehigh Valley in order to create jobs and opportunities for all our residents.”
Out of the 2015 financing projects, the largest was a $10 million loan for Kirkland Village, a Bethlehem health care facility owned and operated by Presbyterian Homes, which LVEDC administered through the Northampton County Industrial Development Authority (NCIDA). It was used for the construction of 38 independent living units and improvements to the existing skilled nursing facility.
In terms of jobs created, the largest financing project of the year was the long-awaited Hamilton Crossings retail complex in Lower Macungie Township. Totaling 565,000 square-feet on 63 acres between Hamilton Blvd. and the Route 222 Bypass at Krocks Road, the complex will include a Target, Whole Foods, and Costco Wholesale Club, among other stores.
Hamilton Crossings is expected to open in July 2016 and create about 1,000 new jobs. It was made possible due to a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district, which LVEDC helped establish and administer through the Lehigh County Industrial Development Authority (LCIDA). LVEDC also served as TIF administrator, providing technical services to support the TIF financing, and assisted LCIDA in providing an Industrial Site Reuse Program grant to support the project.
LVEDC’s works in coordination with a number economic development financing organizations in providing these resources, including NCIDA, LCIDA, the Northampton County New Jobs Corp., Lehigh’s Economic Advancement Project, and the Allentown Development Company.
Other LVEDC financing projects that closed in 2015 include:
Flexicon. This industrial manufacturer added 91,000-square-feet to its manufacturing and warehousing facility, nearly doubling the size of its Bethlehem Township-based U.S. headquarters. LVEDC helped provide a $2 million Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) loan for the project at a fixed rate of 2.25 percent for 15 years, which will add about 50 new jobs and retain 138 positions.
Morgan Hill Senior Living. LVEDC helped provide $1.89 million in SBA 504 funding for a project to convert an Easton property into a 32-room personal memory care facility accommodating 40 city residents. This $5.4 million project was expected to create about 30 jobs.
Innovative Control Systems. This manufacturer of system control and point-of-sale equipment for the automated car wash industry received $550,000 in PIDA capital (2.25 percent fixed for 15 years) to expand their operations by moving their manufacturing and warehouse operations into a 19,000 square-foot facility located in Palmer Township. LVEDC worked with Northampton County New Jobs Corp. to administer the loan programs for this project.
Equipto. The Tatamy-based Consolidated Storage Companies, a leading manufacturer of industrial and commercial storage products, which sells most of its products under the brand name Equipto, received a $195,000 PIDA loan at a 3 percent fixed rate. This allowed, among other things, for the purchase a new paint booth, which will help them better recycle and reuse excess paint from its painting process, thus reducing the amount of wasted paint and disposal costs.
Da Vinci Science Center. The center obtained a $1.24 million loan through LCIDA, which will allow them to refinance indebtedness and pay off certain costs and expenses incurred from the previous construction of a 29,000 square-foot science center at Cedar Crest College in Allentown.
2015 also marked the start of the Lehigh Valley Lending Network, a partnership between LVEDC and 13 regional banks that will offer a single point of access to both private and public financing options to support economic growth projects.
Under the new program, businesses seeking financing can access and shop commercial lending institutions and economic development resource providers, giving them the ability to canvass incentive financing and traditional bank loan products through one inquiry simultaneously.
“The idea of allowing new customers to shop for both public and private capital resources in one spot is very unique in the economic development world,” said Don Cunningham, LVEDC President and CEO. “It has the potential to serve as best practice across the country, and it is only possible because of the support for regional economic growth by banks based in the Lehigh Valley.”
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