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January 29, 2020

Financing Finalized! A letter from Lela Klein

Dear Gem City Market Champions:

Happy 2020 – the year we open our store!

I’m excited to update you, on recent events and milestones for the Market:

Over the Fall, our contractor Wise Construction and their subcontractors finished demolition of the McCallisters building and cleared our site to prepare to build our co-op.  This work was completed after Thanksgiving.  Those who frequent Salem Avenue may have noticed a lull in activity on the site in December and the beginning of January.  This was necessary as we worked to close on the financing for the Market – a complex new task for our grassroots board.

I am thrilled to say that yesterday, with the help of the incredible team at Thompson Hine, and a constellation of community and financial entities described below, we closed on our New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) investment and our needed debt financing!!!

We are so grateful that Citywide Development and PNC Bank provided us with the NMTC allocation, and PNC served as our investor.  Citywide also provided us with a bridge loan to cover some of the grant funding that is pledged but not yet received, and a national Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) The Reinvestment Fund, provided the additional bridge. The Miami Valley Community Action Partnershipalso played a critical role by stepping in as the “QALICB,” a part of the NMTC structure. As part of this package, we also finalized public funding: an incredible grant from Greater Dayton Premier Management of HUD Hope VI funds, the City of Dayton, which just voted to provide us with essential development funds, and public dollars already provided by Montgomery County and pending from the State of Ohio via Sinclair Community College.

For the operations of the Market, an Ohio-based CDFI, The Finance Fund, made a loan to the cooperative with funds they administer via the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, a federal program intended to make affordable financing options available to high-impact food access projects.

You can tell just by the list of participants that this was no small task to wrangle, and none of it would have been possible without YOU – the community member-owners, supporters, donors and funders from across the community who have given over the past three years.  The grants and donations provided were used to leverage these financing tools and complete our capital campaign. Our total construction budget of $5.5 million, which includes our equipment, land and labor, is nearly all in hand, and we can now move confidently into the construction phase. Shout out to the Dayton Building Trades for helping us craft a Community Benefits Agreement keeping construction dollars in the local economy, and supporting our neighbors with good jobs! Keep an eye on 324 Salem Avenue to watch our co-op rise!

What’s next for the Co-op during construction?  You may have seen that we recently unveiled our new, retail-ready logo and refreshed brand (see more here).

We are also working to concretize the health and nutrition programming at the Market.  We know many of our partners will continue to work with us to ensure that our store, as well as our community room, teaching kitchen and clinic, are activated with robust, culturally relevant and evidence-based educational programming.

If you would like more frequent updates and you don’t receive our email newsletter, you can click here to sign up.

Thank you for all you do to keep our community healthy and resilient!

With my gratitude,

Lela Klein

Executive Director, CO-OP Dayton

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