U.S. Bank, Capital Impact Partners, Los Angeles Development Fund,
UrbanAmerica and Civic Enterprise Development have closed on financing
for the $17.5 million acquisition and renovation of industrial space in
Los Angeles' Lincoln Heights neighborhood. The 56,000-square-foot
building will become L.A. Prep, a multi-faceted food production business
incubator for local entrepreneurs, and home to the nonprofit L.A.
Most of the space operates as an accelerator for small food producers
who have outgrown their startup spaces. L.A. Prep partner and co-founder
Food Centricity, a business accelerator focused on early and growth
stage food companies, will provide business support and other key
services to help tenants succeed. Food Centricity CEO Michel Algazi
said, "L.A. Prep will deliver space, community and a suite of services
for small food business unlike anywhere else in the country."
L.A. Kitchen is a nonprofit/social enterprise that will collect or
purchase surplus fruits and produce from farms and wholesale companies
in the region. These products will fuel a 15-week, culinary arts job
training program, which will prepare at-risk foster youth and older
adults transitioning out of incarceration for jobs in the culinary
field, helping reduce systemic patterns and become productive members of
the Los Angeles community. Along with staff and volunteers, trainees
will help produce thousands of snacks and ethnically diverse meals every
day, which will be distributed for free to nonprofit partners or sold
through contracts. L.A. Kitchen will serve a wide cross section of
programs, but will emphasize partnerships that support senior centers,
after-school programs or drug treatment facilities.
L.A. Kitchen is the vision of Robert Egger, the founder of D.C. Central
Kitchen, a similar nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. that has
prepared more than 25 million meals for low-income and at-risk
individuals since its founding 25 years ago.
"L.A. Kitchen will help provide a basic need, food, to our community
members in need, and in doing so, we'll be able to help at-risk
individuals learn and create opportunities for themselves," said Egger.
"In the United States, approximately 40% of edible food goes to waste,
costing more than $165 billion each year. In Los Angeles alone, around
18 million pounds of food are disposed of every day."
To make the project possible, U.S. Bank committed more than $5.1 million
in New Markets Tax Credit equity through its community development
subsidiary, U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation. Capital
Impact Partners, as part of the California Fresh Works Fund and in
partnership with The California Endowment, Genesis L.A. and Raza
Development Fund, provided $11 million in leverage debt in the NMTC
structure. The Los Angeles Development Fund and UrbanAmerica, through
its community development entity, UA LLC, together contributed a $16
million New Markets Tax Credit allocation to the project.
"We're pleased to play a role in turning this innovative and
highly-anticipated project into a reality," said Sean Foley, president
of U.S. Bank in Southern California. "Given the growth of small food
businesses locally and the lasting success of Egger's D.C. Central
Kitchen, L.A. Prep will have a wide-ranging, positive impact on our
community for many years to come."
"This project blends job creation; value added food production, and
distribution of fresh healthy prepared foods to senior facilities," said
Scott Sporte, chief lending officer at Capital Impact Partners. "It
illustraes our flexibility for projects with high impact potential and
we're very proud to be part of it and expand our impact in the
communities that matter most to us."
L.A. Prep will break ground this summer, with first tenants occupying in
early 2015. Civic Enterprise Development (CE), founded by Mott Smith and
Brian Albert with a focus on urban infill developments in emerging
communities in Southern California, will renovate the facility into a
state-of-the-art food production center.
"L.A. Prep is a unique development project that will go a long way
toward rejuvenating the historic Lincoln Heights neighborhood," said
Albert of CE. "As a developer in an urban area like Northeast Los
Angeles, it's critical to be able to look at space for what it could
become tomorrow, rather than what it was yesterday."
Smith and Albert have a longstanding commitment to small business,
neighborhood-scaled investment and creative enterprises. "We'd love to
see food do for Lincoln Heights today what music did for the Sunset
Strip in the 1960s," said Smith of CE.
L.A. Prep is the culmination of a two-year effort between the
development team and the L.A. County Department of Public Health, which
oversees food regulation in the County and City of Los Angeles. "With
the rapid growth of small food business, we want to offer solutions that
support innovation and our entrepreneurial community, while protecting
public health. We are pleased to work with L.A. Prep and Civic
Enterprise to help launch this exciting program," said Angelo Bellomo,
director of environmental health at the L.A. County Department of Public
About Civic Enterprise Development LLCCivic Enterprise is
an L.A.-based urban infill developer focusing on emerging communities in
Southern California. www.civicenterprise.com
About Food CentricityFood Centricity is a business
accelerator focused on breaking market, business and financial barriers
for early and growth stage food companies. It connects and streamlines
all necessary resources to launch, groom and grow food businesses in
Southern California and beyond. Food Centricity also powers The Fine
Foods Group, a community of over one thousand food makers in Southern
California. Learn more at www.foodcentricity.com.
About L.A. KitchenL.A. Kitchen is new, but built upon the
proven work of Robert Egger, who founded the nationally recognized DC
Central Kitchen in 1989. The DC Kitchen is now a $12M, self-sustaining,
social enterprise that has prepared over 29 million meals and helped
1,000 men and women gain full time employment.
About Capital Impact PartnersCapital Impact Partners
(formerly known as NCB Capital Impact), is a leader in financial and
social innovation for communities. A nonprofit organization and
Community Development Financial Institution, we bring our roots in
cooperative development, diverse network of partners and problem solving
know-how to connect communities to capital and capabilities that
together create social change. Learn more at www.capitalimpact.org
About Los Angeles Development FundThe Los Angeles
Development Fund (LADF) is a California non-profit corporation
established by the City of Los Angeles in September 2006 to manage its
New Markets Tax Credit program. LADF is certified by the U.S. Treasury
Department's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund as a
Community Development Entity and has been awarded $125 million in
allocation. LADF uses its allocation to support qualified projects
within the City of Los Angeles. For more information please visit www.ladfnewmarkets.org.
About UrbanAmericaUrbanAmerica (UrbanAmerica Principals
III, LLC) a minority-controlled real estate investment advisor, launched
in 1998, was one of the first investment advisors to focus on developing
and acquiring properties in America's urban markets and low-to-moderate
income (LMI) areas. As a pioneer in urban investing, UrbanAmerica
addressed the lack of access to capital in LMI communities and in areas
of diversity nationwide, where a dearth of goods and services existed
and where unemployment was high. To date, UrbanAmerica has over $1
billion in equity under management across two private equity investment
funds. In addition, through the NMTC program, as a Community Development
Entity, UrbanAmerica continues to invest capital in these areas bringing
schools, health care centers, retail, affordable housing, community
services and jobs to LMI communities nationwide. For more information
please visit http://www.urbanamericaadvisors.com
About U.S. Bank in Los AngelesU.S. Bank has 222 branches
and employs more than 2,700 people in greater Los Angeles. The number of
U.S. Bank employees in the market has more than doubled since 2008, and
the same is true across California where the number of U.S. Bank
employees jumped from 3,500 in 2008 to 7,000 today.
U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), with $371 billion in assets as of March 31,
2014, is the parent company of U.S. Bank National Association, the 5th
largest commercial bank in the United States. The Company operates 3,083
banking offices in 25 states and 4,878 ATMs and provides a comprehensive
line of banking, brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage, trust and
payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions.
Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at usbank.com.
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