Lopez: Performing Arts Center in ‘poverty area’
Cummings: Project may cost $21 million
NASHUA – Consultants and city leaders said the median income for those living near Nashua’s planned Performing Arts Center is so low that the project is eligible for New Market Tax Credits.
“I just think it would be important for people to remember that downtown is within a poverty area – if they remember that downtown is more than just north, south Main Street,” Nashua Alderman Tom Lopez said Monday during a special BOA meeting to discuss the center, which is set for the former Alec’s Shoes building at the corner of Main and West Pearl streets.
Meanwhile, Nashua Director of Economic Development Tim Cummings said Monday the total project cost may go as high as $21 million, but emphasized not all of that would be city funding. The project has typically been referred to as a $15.5 million project, but Cummings said that only accounts for the revenue directed by the city.
“That doesn’t take into account any
revenue that could come in from non-city money,” Cummings said of the $21 million figure. “We will absolutely make sure we keep this project within budget.”
The purpose of the Monday meeting was to conduct a public hearing about the creation of two nonprofit corporations to act as funding pass-through organizations for the PAC. Attorney John Kaminski recommends this action.
“The financial structure of (New Market Tax Credit) transactions requires that the sponsoring entity, the city in this case, form one or more affiliated single purpose legal entities,” Kaminski stated in an April 17 email to Nashua Deputy Corporation Counsel Celia Leonard. “The specific roles that these entities will serve in the financing structure will be determined in coordination with the funders and their legal counsel.”
Leonard, Kaminski and NMTC consultant Niel Cannon joined Cummings for his Monday presentation. Cannon was called upon to clarify a couple things discussed during the meeting, and said the downtown Nashua census tract, which is the sub-city areas upon which all eligibility for NMTCs is based, shows Nashua ranking last.
“There were 104 Census tracts up in the state eligible for New Markets,” Cannon said. “This one ranks 104, the worst. It’s the worst Census track in the state in terms of percent of median family income versus the state average.”
During the meeting, Alderman Brandon Laws asked Cummings if the PAC plan will die if the city cannot get the New Market Tax Credits. Cummings responded by saying, not necessarily.
“The city would have to raise $4 million in private money, or somehow in another way come up with a funding source,” Cummings said. “This New Market Tax Credit is essential to closing the gap in this project.”
The PAC Steering Committee meets again at 5 p.m. May 29 in Conference Room 208 at Nashua City Hall.
“We would love for anyone to attend where they can hear this conversation with the architects,” Cummings said.
Additional legislation will also be forthcoming, as there are plenty of steps that need to be taken before these two nonprofit entities become reality. These include:
Approval 1: Create 2 RSA 162-G:15 voluntary nonprofit corporations, nonprofit A and B;.
Approval 2: A) Loan $xxx to Sr. Leverage Lender nonprofit A;
B) Grant $xxxx to Qualified Active Low Income Community Business (QALICB);
C) Agreements among QALICB, city and Sr. Leverage Lender;
D) authorize the mayor to execute all necessary documents related to city’s participation in NMTC deal; Approval 3: Authorizing the transfer of the title to 201 Main St. to QALICB nonprofit B, consideration $2 million; closing to take place contemporaneously with NMTC closing;
Approval 4: Authorizing the city to enter into a lease with QALICB nonprofit B for 201 Main St. as master tenant;
Approval 5: Authorizing the city as master tenant, to enter into an operator agreement with Spectacle Management;
Approval 6: Creating a board of trustees for the PAC; and
Approval 7: Creating a Trust Fund/Special Revenue Account.