ASPIRA of Florida purchases building for expansion of its Eugenio Maria de Hostos school in Wynwood neighborhood of Miami.
Florida Community Loan Fund (FCLF) is pleased to announce financing of the acquisition and renovation of a building housing ASPIRA E.M. de Hostos charter school. The project, the 2nd for ASPIRA of Florida and FCLF, was made possible through the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program. Funding utilizing both federal and state tax credits was provided through a partnership with Fifth Third Bank, Stonehenge Capital, and U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation.
ASPIRA of Florida is a non-profit organization operating charter schools, after-school programs, and community outreach programs in South Florida, with an emphasis on education of Latino and other minority youth. The ASPIRA E.M. de Hostos middle school serves primarily low-income children, with 98% of its students Title I qualified. A portion of the building was previously leased to the school, and this financing will allow expansion so that the school can increase the size of the student body from 500 to 850 students. In addition to construction jobs during renovation, an estimated 56 permanent jobs will be created or maintained.
ASPIRA received a financing package totaling $8.4 million to purchase and renovate the 3-story, 60,000 square foot building. Through the NMTC structure ASPIRA received a $5.2 million below market rate loan and will be receiving up to $3.2 million in additional equity funding.
"This is a dream come true for our students, and will help not only our children but the community as a whole," said George Cabrera, CFO of ASPIRA of Florida, Inc. "As we celebrate our 30 year anniversary, this transaction confirms our impact to this community for more years to come."
Nelson Black, Director of Lending at the Florida Community Loan Fund, noted that he worked with ASPIRA on this project since planning began 4 years ago. "It's a prime example of the benefits of the U.S. Government's NMTC Program, which was conceived to encourage economic development in very low-income communities. And this charter school's expansion has the kind of community impact in the Wynwood neighborhood that the NMTC program was designed to support."
FCLF closed its first loan under the NMTC Program in 2007, and has been a successful partner now in 8 transaction, including 3 charter schools, 2 health-related facilities, and 3 Green projects; all of which create jobs and economic growth in their communities. To date these projects have created an estimated 1,418 temporary and 1,092 permanent jobs.
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