In October, IFF closed six loans totaling almost $10.1 million for community-driven projects in the Midwest. We’ve included below a roundup with information about several of the organizations that received the loans and what they’re doing with the capital. To learn more about IFF’s lending, visit our Capital Solutions page.
Chicago Children’s Museum
IFF closed a $1.3 million loan that provided the Chicago Children’s Museum with bridge financing needed to renovate its popular Water City Exhibit (formerly called Water Ways) at its Navy Pier facility in downtown Chicago. The renovated 1,645-square-foot exhibit (rendering above) will connect water play for children with STEM experiences, inspiring them to explore, observe, and nurture their innate curiosity. Since the museum was founded in 1991, more than 11 million children, parents, and caregivers have visited the museum to experience firsthand its interactive, play-based exhibits. Lead financing for the project was provided by Moen and the Illinois Public Museum Capital Grant Program (administered through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources). The project will create three full-time equivalent jobs and 20 temporary construction jobs.
CNI and Chicago TREND
IFF closed a $2.95 million loan that will enable Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI) and Chicago TREND (TREND) to purchase 10 acres of land in Chicago’s historic Pullman neighborhood for future redevelopment. Since its founding in 2010, CNI has played a key role in the revitalization of the South Side community. Serving as the master developer of Pullman Park – a 180-acre, mixed-use site that has attracted $370 million in new investment – CNI’s work has brought a multitude of new businesses to the neighborhood and created nearly 1,500 jobs. CNI also played a lead role in the designation of Pullman as a National Monument by coordinating and sponsoring the designation process, providing advocacy, and financial resources to make the National Monument a reality.
TREND is a Black-led, social enterprise, development company founded in 2016. TREND’s mission is to strengthen neighborhoods by catalyzing and accelerating strategic retail and other commercial development. As part of this strategy, TREND assembles teams of Black professionals to manage the properties; expands opportunities to Black- owned businesses to lease storefronts; and structures the deals to enable Black entrepreneurs, community members and other small impact investors to invest and financially benefit as owners of retail and community centers. TREND has acquired, redeveloped, and stabilized four urban shopping centers in Chicago and in Baltimore while investing approximately $7.2 million in retail projects in Austin, Bronzeville, Chatham, South Shore, Uptown, etc.
The Michaels Organization
IFF closed a $1.5 million loan that provided The Michaels Organization with predevelopment financing for the rehabilitation of two affordable housing developments that are owned and operated by the Chicago Housing Authority in Chicago’s Little Village and North Lawndale neighborhoods. Together, the properties provide 500 units of housing for seniors, and the renovation will result in significant upgrades to building systems and amenities. Following the completion of the projects, both properties will undergo a rental assistance demonstration (RAD) project-based conversion. Operating in 35 states, The Michaels Organization has developed more than 55,000 housing units since the early 1970s.
The Model Group
IFF closed a $3.5 million source loan as part of a New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) deal for The Model Group that will facilitate a joint project with the Downtown Development Trust in Fort Wayne, IN, to revitalize a historically significant neighborhood in the city. The project – called Columbia Street West – will include the preservation of three historic buildings and new infill construction on two empty lots as part of a broader $80 million master redevelopment strategy. The mixed-use project will create 80 full-time equivalent permanent jobs, 21 housing units (including five that will be affordable for low-income residents), and more than 21,000 square feet of new commercial space expected to attract additional investments to the neighborhood as part of the revitalization effort.
Additional parties involved in financing the project include the Fort Wayne New Markets Revitalization Fund, Urban Action Community Development, Central States Development Partners, Capital One, National Association & COCRF Investor 206 LLC, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the City of Fort Wayne, and US Bank.