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Opportunity Appalachia Announces 34 Community Investment Projects in Central Appalachia

June 21, 2022 | Opportunity Appalachia Announces 34 Community Investment Projects in Central Appalachia | By: Liz Shenk, Manager of Marketing & Outreach

Appalachian Community Capital announced earlier this month a selection of 34 projects to participate in a program to bring jobs, business support, and investment to Central Appalachia as part of their Opportunity Appalachia program. The selected projects propose to create over 1,700 jobs and attract over $177 million in financing to develop manufacturing facilities; downtown development; community centers; health, wellness, and childcare centers; food and agricultural facilities; hotels; and retail enterprises in downtown and rural areas across Central Appalachia. Main Street America is proud to be a program partner of Opportunity Appalachia.

These proposed projects are signals of the growing investment potential in our rural and downtown communities in Central Appalachia. Opportunity Appalachia will work closely with private investors, banks, Community Development Financial Institutions, New Markets Tax Credits investors, Historic Tax Credit Investors, Opportunity Zone investors and Federal agencies to highlight participating communities and access financing for transactions.

Opportunity Appalachia received 75 applications for technical assistance from across Central Appalachia (Southeast Ohio, East Tennessee, Western North Carolina, Southwest Virginia, and West Virginia), representing projects with anticipated costs over $369 million. From this project pool, 34 projects listed below have been selected for participation.

“We are thrilled to continue to bring much needed financial and technical resources to our region to help Appalachia secure investment in job creating businesses such as manufacturing, IT, agriculture, downtown development, healthcare, education, heritage tourism and recreation,” remarked Appalachian Community Capital (ACC) President & CEO Donna Gambrell, whose organization coordinates the Opportunity Appalachia effort. She added, “We expect to strengthen or help establish over 230 businesses leading to the creation of more than 1,700 new jobs and generate private and public investments totaling nearly $177 million. This builds on our 2020-2021 Opportunity Appalachia efforts, which supported 17 projects seeking to raise over $250 million in financing.”

Opportunity Appalachia will now provide technical assistance to selected projects to support the development of investment prospectus, structuring of project financing, market research, operations planning, architectural design, and investor outreach.

Once project technical assistance is completed, a highly visible Investor Convening event will be held in early 2023 that will target both local and pre-vetted national investors, as well as federal and state funders. A curated web-based platform hosting prospectus / pitch decks will also be made available to facilitate investor due diligence.
With another smaller application round anticipated for September 30, for applicants in Tennessee and Virginia, Opportunity Appalachia is expected to assist a total of 40 rural and downtown Appalachian communities to structure investments in real estate projects that support strategies for economic restructuring and diversification. This builds on the 2020-2021 Opportunity Appalachia efforts, which supported 17 projects seeking to raise over $250 million in financing.

The program is supported by the Appalachian Regional Commission, the US Department of Treasury CDFI Fund, Truist, Goldman Sachs, and the Dogwood Health Trust.

“Congratulations to the 34 project partners selected to participate in the 2022 Opportunity Appalachia program,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “This is an incredible example of what’s possible when we work together to make positive impacts in the region that will reverberate for generations. Thanks to Appalachian Community Capital and its many partners for spearheading this program to diversify and strengthen economies throughout Central Appalachia.”

Opportunity Appalachia is led by an eight-member consortium of regional and national organizations with expertise in financing and marketing that will support local projects to develop sophisticated investment packets geared toward prospective investors. Opportunity Appalachia partners include: Appalachian Community Capital, OhioSE, Opportunity Southwest Virginia / UVA – Wise, Mountain BizWorks, West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, University of Tennessee Knoxville, Main Street America, and Coastal Enterprises.

Learn more about the selected Opportunity Appalachia programs here.