Oklahoma’s largest community health center, Variety Care, will be embarking on a multi-phased development project in a distressed part of Oklahoma City, known as “Old Britton”- one of the highest areas of poverty in Oklahoma County. A collaboration between REI Oklahoma’s REI Development Corp., U.S. Bank, New Markets Redevelopment, LLC, BancFirst and Variety Care facilitated financing for the project utilizing the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program. Totaling more than $15 million, Phase I will provide women’s health, prenatal care, postpartum care, pediatric/adolescent care, integrated early childhood development, Teen Tot clinic, parental and marital counseling. Upon completion, the health center will have capacity to serve 20,000 new patients. In addition, the campus will provide job opportunities and training to neighborhood residents in the areas of clerical, reception, support staff and allied health. 90 permanent, high-quality jobs will be introduced into Oklahoma’s job market, plus an estimated 100 construction jobs. The construction team for the project consists of Hornbeek Blatt Architects, Caston Construction and Snoddy Properties.
“Without the infusion of capital from the NMTC program, the facility would have been much smaller than demand requires, or not at all,” said Lou Carmichael, CEO Variety Care and Executive Director Variety Care Foundation. “With the level of support from local and federal funds combined with the NMTC program, we will be able to increase access to health care, provide workforce development and invest in a distressed neighborhood. We are grateful to all of the partners, from the Health Resources Service Administration, to the city of Oklahoma City and the team of financiers, who came together to make this project possible.”
The newly constructed 35,000 sq. ft. health center will serve this low income, medically underserved area. The expectation and estimates show that about 90% of the people served (newborns, children, youth, teens and pregnant women) will live in households at or below poverty. Demand for pediatric and obstetrics for Medicaid patients is high in this area and although there are many providers in the area, most have limited panels for Medicaid. This health center will be the 17th full-time site operated by Variety Care.
“The NMTC program is all about revitalizing and improving communities,” said Scott Dewald, REI Oklahoma President & CEO. “With every New Markets Tax Credit transaction our organization completes, the impact reaches well beyond the actual project, making it a win-win for both the business and its surrounding neighborhood.”
Since receiving its first federally-funded NMTC allocation, REI Oklahoma has counteracted disinvestment in the state’s communities amounting to total projects of more than $905 million, affecting more than 3,300 jobs. The tax credits are provided by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund and provide a 39 percent federal income tax credit for investments into qualifying businesses in low income communities.
The expansion of prosperity among Oklahoma’s healthcare facilities has become a forte of REI Oklahoma’s NMTC program with other past healthcare-related projects in Muskogee, Stigler, Tahlequah, Wetumka, Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Additional projects have included the restoration and repurposing of various historical Oklahoma buildings and assistance to industrial production industries. REI Oklahoma welcomes the opportunity to discuss the feasibility of potential NMTC-related financing projects. Call 800-658-2823 to arrange a meeting.