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Community Spotlight: Historic Real Estate Finance Training

October 4, 2018 | Community Spotlight: Historic Real Estate Finance Training in Historic Valley Junction in West Des Moines, Iowa | 
4.jpgOn tour in Historic Valley Junction in West Des Moines, Iowa during the National Development Council Historic Real Estate Finance training. Thanks to Jim Miller and team for showing us how these deals get done.

The Main Street America Institute (MSAI) recently partnered with the National Development Council (NDC) to offer Historic Real Estate Finance, part one of a two course certificate program, in Des Moines, Iowa last week. With generous support from the 1772 Foundation, 28 participants completed the immersive, week-long training led by NDC’s Corey Leon. Putting this education to use, Main Street managers can participate in development processes, including those utilizing Historic Tax Credits, and elevate their leadership positions in their communities.

The Program

Based on a curriculum developed initially through the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and modified for Main Street, Leon led participants through the development process from the position of lenders, developers, and city officials. Completing all calculations by hand, participants learned to assess a building’s fair market value, determine viable levels of bank lending, apply Historic Tax Credits to a pro forma, and identify sources to close gaps in a project’s budget. After a full day of math, our tables were filled with eraser shreds — but participants walked away with a deep understanding of how to view a project from multiple perspectives and augment the development process to act as a fulcrum between developers, lenders, and public entities.

NDC instructor Corey Leon guided participants through the week’s training.

The program also included a tour of Historic Valley Junction in West Des Moines, Iowa led by Executive Director Jim Miller. Along the way, participants saw multiple projects that helped to elucidate classroom lessons. At the Lyric Building, participants saw how a movie theater turned costume shop will leverage its 2017 Partners in Preservation grant in combination with multiple other sources for façade and marquee improvements. Further down the street at the Silvers Building, developer Scott Cutler explained how securing ground floor tenants created a viable proforma and spurred the renovation of six second floor apartments. The tour concluded at the Phenix School, where Matt Hague, a nonprofit housing developer, explained how a combination of private, nonprofit, city, state and federal sources turned a former elementary school into mixed income live/work apartments for artists.

2.jpgJim Miller, Executive Director, Historic Valley Junction, and developer Scott Cutler explained the process to bring retail and residential tenants to the historic Silvers Building in West Des Moines, Iowa.

What Participants Said

For participants, knowledge of the development process means expanded capacity to bring new tenants and residents downtown. Several participants immediately identified potential projects to which this knowledge would be applied or new ways to evaluate a developers’ proposal for their district. In their own words:

  • "The NDC's Historic Real Estate Finance class could not have come at a better time. The week before I attended the class, a development team came in to ask how they can use historic tax credits on a project. They knew that the Wilkinsburg business district was just designated a historic district and wanted to see if the rehab tax credits could help develop their building. This class gave me the tools to determine how development projects can be financed and confidence when I speak with developers. Corey is a great instructor that brought practical information to the course. Through the generosity of the 1772 Foundation, the Wilkinsburg CDC will continue to be a relevant resource in developing our historic business district." ~Josh Rolón, Wilkinsburg CDC Main Street Manager, Wilkinsburg, PA
  • “I found this to be an excellent training, full of high quality content. It pulled together a lot of different concepts that I’ve been introduced to through my work and helped me relate them to a larger real estate development framework. I also felt like Corey made the material very approachable, so I would definitely recommend it for anyone interested in expanding their knowledge in this area.” ~Lillie Read, Downtown Development Manager, City of Cartersville, GA

  • “The instructor was great. Coming from a small town of 25,000 in Minnesota, we will be using the information gained on two important mixed-use buildings in our downtown that need the right mix of developer, funds and tenants to make things work. Our city planner and incubator staff, both Main Street steering committee members, are enthused to have this overview and assessment process to assist projects. MainStreet Owatonna will be able to work with the business and developers that come into the chamber more effectively.  I highly recommend this class to all Main Street managers." ~Shirley Schultz, MainStreet Director, Owatonna, MN       

  • “The Historic Real Estate Finance course is an outstanding hands-on training opportunity. Corey takes you through a learning process that is beyond the basic knowledge of historic tax credits to creative, practical applications that will assist in analyzing and packaging potential economic development projects to attract developers and property owners.” ~Debbie Brangenberg, Executive Director, Tupelo Main Street, MS

Participants listen as Matt Hague of Community Housing Initiatives explains the redevelopment of a beloved elementary school into mixed-income artist housing.

In Summary

In the course, participants learned that, in developing a project, sources must equal uses. This is equally true for a week-long, high-level training program gathering participants from across the country. The training would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsor, the 1772 Foundation, and the commitment of the National Development Council and instructor Corey Leon to offer this content to our Main Street network. Additionally, we are grateful for our colleagues and supporters in Historic Valley Junction and Main Street Iowa.

Part Two of the Historic Real Estate Finance series will be held January 14-18, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Only those who have completed Part One are eligible to participate in Part Two, but we encourage everyone to stay tuned for more opportunities for professional growth through the Main Street America Institute.

The 2019 MSAI course schedule will be released in November. Questions? To be alerted of future offerings of this training, email us at call 312-610-5619.