On Tuesday, April 25, NewTown Macon approached the County Commission to let them know of our desire to use money in our Real Estate Development Loan Fund to refinance a mortgage for a successful downtown business. This Fund has been in place since 2012 and provides public benefit through converting vacant space to active use, increasing property tax revenue, creating construction jobs, and improving the aesthetics of downtown Macon. NewTown acts as the manager of these funds, accepting and reviewing applications, performing underwriting, making and managing loans, and repaying the bonds to bond holders.
A story that ran on 13WMAZ inaccurately reported that the County approved use of its money to provide the loan to the Downtown business, and we want to be very clear that, at no time was taxpayer money allocated to this project nor to this Fund.
We understand there is a great deal of confusion and anger about this loan decision because of the inaccuracies in the article, so we’d like to invite you to attend a presentation about the fund on Thursday, April 27, at 4:00PM in our offices at 555 Poplar Street. We want you to have access to the same information we provided the Commission and to learn how much this Fund has impacted Downtown Macon.
Launched in 2012, the Real Estate Development Loan Fund consists of bond funds issued by the Urban Development Authority, and it is backed by the full faith and credit of the Macon-Bibb government. The Fund provides loans to development and businesses downtown, and if a loan is over 40% of the total project cost, we must notify the Commission and give them a chance to ask questions, which is why we approached them on Tuesday.
We let them know at that time that this loan would not cost them any money, and this program has never cost them money. Instead, it has netted them additional revenue from higher property values.
Through this program, we have loaned $6.2 million to downtown businesses and developers. Because of these loans, $32.5 million in private money has been invested downtown, and property tax revenue has increase $30,000 and will increase at least $328,320 annually over the next several years.
This program has been integral to the revitalization of downtown Macon, providing the funding to rehab more than 321,874 square feet of Downtown Macon and increase the value of Downtown property by $32 million. 201 residential units and 49 commercial units have benefited from the Real Estate Development Loan Fund. The rehab projects have contributed to $682,000 in sales tax revenue for materials purchased.
NewTown Macon is a non-profit organization dedicated to implementing a comprehensive, coordinated, and continuous plan for revitalizing downtown Macon, and the Real Estate Development Loan Fund has been and continues to be essential in accomplishing this mission.
Again, we’d like to invite you to learn more about the program – and even how to apply for a loan – by joining us Thursday, April 27, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. at our offices at 555 Poplar Street in Downtown Macon.