Rather than venturing out to raise private funds to build an office space, the Foundation’s board of trustees explored partnership options and alternative financing methods to forge a public-private partnership with the City of Fort Myers and the Community Redevelopment Agency to save and renovate the historic ACL Train Depot.
Through a $10-million New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) deal, a financing model that encourages economic development in distressed neighborhoods, the Foundation restored the train depot and added on 14,000 square feet for the community to come together.
Florida Community Loan Fund provided the NMTC allocation and U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation is an investor on the project. Whitney Hancock Bank provided additional financing.
As hoped, the successful strategy has generated regional interest among other nonprofits seeking innovative financing solutions in the communities they serve.
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation continues to support such efforts, providing insight and information as a trailblazer in deploying such a financing approach in Southwest Florida.