The team behind the major economic development project to revitalize the First National Center in Oklahoma City participated in the New Markets Tax Credits program as a part of the overall strategy to fund this historic redevelopment. This federal program incentivizes community development and economic growth through the use of tax credits that attract private investment to reinvigorate communities.
Developers: Cornerstone Development and NE Development
Community Development Entities (CDEs): REI Oklahoma, MetaFund, LLC, and Brownfield Revitalization Advisors
Financial Partners: Prime Bank, CrossFirst Bank, U.S. Bank, Stonehenge Bridge Capital
Comment from Gary Brooks, president of Cornerstone Development: “The local Community Development Entities and financial institutions involved in this process are championing growth in our state with these tax credits programs. Without them, many economic development projects would not have been possible.”
Comment from Scott Dewald, REI Development Corp. president: “We’ve always embraced complexity, and the teamwork involved in undertaking a project like this is no exception. It’s very exciting to be able to combine a development project with bringing new life to a landmark such as the First National Center.”
Comment from Blake Trippet, MetaFund chief investment officer: “The revitalization of the First National Center will breathe new life into an important piece of Oklahoma City’s history – transforming the building into a vibrant hub of community activity. MetaFund is proud to provide New Markets Tax Credits toward this effort, and we look forward to seeing the building restored to prominence.”
What is the New Markets Tax Credit Program?
Administered by the US Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, the program attracts private capital into low-income communities by permitting individual and corporate investors to receive a tax credit against their federal income tax in exchange for making equity investments in specialized financial intermediaries called Community Development Entities (CDEs). The credit totals 39 percent of the original investment amount and is claimed over a period of seven years. More information at cdfifund.gov.
What other local projects have used the New Markets Tax Credit Program? Skirvin Hilton Hotel, Colcord Hotel, 21c Museum Hotel, Carnegie Centre, Cytovance Biologics, Valir Health
About the First National Center Redevelopment Project: Oklahoma City developer Gary Brooks and NE Development’s Charlie Nicholas, purchased the 32-story First National Center, formerly First National Bank, in early 2017. The owners are leading a multi-phase project to redevelop the 1931 Art Deco Center Building, the 1957 Center Building, and the 1972 East Building into a 145 room hotel, more than 180 apartments, restaurants and 35,000 square feet of lease and event space. The beginning phase will include a parking Garage & Gallery, creating more than 600 new parking spaces downtown.