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Tall buildings plan pulled back for Central and Camelback

[Source: Michael Clancy, Arizona Republic] — A Phoenix developer has pulled back from seeking approval for a project that would have included some of the tallest buildings in Phoenix.  Reid Butler submitted plans for the southwestern corner of Central Avenue and Camelback Road in May 2008, but the plans immediately ran into nearly unanimous opposition from the area’s historic neighborhoods and the city councilmen who represent them.

Butler wanted to put up three buildings holding offices, a hotel and condos, topping out at 400 feet.  The Chase Tower and US Bank Center in downtown Phoenix are the only buildings in the state that are that tall. The Qwest Tower at Thomas Road and Central falls just short.

What the project might have had going for it is its location at the north end of Phoenix’s Central Avenue business area, and its inclusion of a light-rail station at a point where the tracks change direction.  But Butler never reached a point where he could argue those points before any official body.  [Note: Read the full article at Tall buildings plan pulled back for Central and Camelback.]

Phoenix awarded $40 million for New Markets Tax Credits

Phoenix Community Development Investment Corporation (PCDIC), a nonprofit corporation affiliated with the city of Phoenix, recently was awarded $40 million of New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) from the Community Development Financial Institution of the U.S. Treasury.  “This allocation will allow PCDIC to continue its current efforts to improve the economic conditions and create job opportunities in Phoenix communities,” said Mayor Phil Gordon.

PCDIC offers commercial real estate loans for projects that meet the mission of the NMTC program with lower than market interest rates.  In addition, PCDIC underwriting criteria offer non-traditional terms, such as lower debt service coverage ratios, higher loan to value ratios and longer interest-only terms (7 to 10 years or more).  “The award will allow PCDIC to continue to target commercial real estate development in light manufacturing, industrial, retail and office developments similar to those it has previously financed, but for smaller transactions,” said Roberto Franco, president, PCDIC.  “The borrowers for these commercial real estate developments are small business owners, nonprofit agencies, and real estate developers and will have a positive impact on the economy in Phoenix.”

PCDIC targets projects in Phoenix’s NMTC’s census tracts that have the highest poverty rate that attract employers and small businesses that bring wealth-creating jobs; finance smaller businesses that have difficulty securing loans or adequate rates and terms; remove blight, particularly within the city’s redevelopment areas, as well as West Phoenix Revitalization area and; help nonprofits finance and expand real estate developments that provide services to their respective low- and moderate-income and disadvantaged communities.

Borrowers with qualifying credit and projects must demonstrate a commitment to enter into a Community Impact Plan that documents their willingness and ability to create jobs, provide opportunities for low- to moderate-income individuals that should include minorities to fill these new jobs, and also improve blighted property conditions, provide services to disadvantaged people or other philanthropic activity that benefits the low- to moderate-income community.  All NMTC projects must be in the CDFI/NMTC census tracts.

The 2008 NMTC allocation of $3.5 billion is the sixth national competitive round of tax credits available to community development entities (CDEs).  The Community Development Financial Institution selected 70 CDEs nationwide to authorize to issue to their investors a total of $3.5 billion in equity for which NMTCs can be claimed.  In the six rounds to date, the CDFI Fund has allocated 364 awards totaling $19.5 billion in tax credit authority.

PCDIC was a first round allocatee in 2003 and was awarded the single largest allocation to date of $170 million of New Market Tax Credits.  PCDIC has successfully placed all of their credits with the following investors: US Bank, Prudential Insurance, First National Bank of Arizona, now Mutual of Omaha Bank, Capmark Finance Inc. and M&I Bank.  PCDIC and its investors created four different commercial real estate funds with different strategies and made 18 loans totaling $196 million.  For more information about PCDIC, click here or call 602-262-5039.