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$23 million deal to bring state-of-the-art YMCA to City Heights

SAN DIEGO — Civic San Diego is providing funding through a New Market Tax Credit loan to the YMCA of San Diego County, for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art YMCA facility in City Heights.

Civic San Diego combined this funding with state and federal grants and charitable contributions previously raised by the YMCA, including Price Charities’ donation of the land, to make the long-planned project a reality. The sheer number of funding sources demonstrates the challenges in financing a community facility in a low-income neighborhood.

The new Copley-Price Family YMCA, at Fairmount Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard, will be an important addition to the City Heights community. The 53,000-square-foot facility will feature an aquatics center, a fitness center, group exercise studios, a teen center, a gymnasium, a soccer arena, a computer lab, a child-care center, a demonstration kitchen as well as a community meeting room.

"This is a fantastic example of how multiple groups can collaborate to create benefit in San Diego's most underserved communities," Interim Mayor Todd Gloria said. "I applaud the effort by all parties that made this project come together."

"This facility will be a true asset to the community, and a place where members of the Talmadge, City Heights and Kensington communities can come together as neighbors," Councilmember Marti Emerald said. "The benefits this project will bring to the area are great in number and in impact."

“This funding will help thousands of inner-city, San Diego kids and their families participate in life-changing, uplifting, positive experiences at the Y," said Baron Herdelin-Doherty, president and CEO of the YMCA of San Diego County. "The Copley-Price YMCA will make accessible the support and opportunities that empower people and communities to learn, grow and thrive.”

In April 2012, Civic San Diego formed the Civic San Diego Economic Growth and Neighborhood Investment Fund to become certified as a Community Development Entity. The main role of the Community Development Entity is to secure New Market Tax Credit funds as well as manage Qualifying Low-Income Community Investments to continue the important work of revitalizing San Diego’s underserved neighborhoods. In the wake of redevelopment’s demise, securing new funding streams is central to Civic San Diego’s mission to reinvest in the most in-need communities.

"Civic San Diego’s New Market Tax Credit program is one example of how our organization has quickly and ably responded to the dissolution of redevelopment," said Cynthia Morgan, chairwoman of the Civic San Diego board of directors. "Securing these New Market Tax Credits is no easy feat, and it is a testament to Civic San Diego’s commitment to rebuilding our neighborhoods that it was able to attract and quickly invest these funds in such an important project."

In April 2013, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced that Civic San Diego had received a tax credit allocation of $35 million. The YMCA facility is the first beneficiary of this allocation, but Civic San Diego is committed to ensuring it will not be the last.

Because of the tremendous need for investment in our low-income communities, Civic San Diego is applying for more funding under the New Market Tax Credit program this year. The submittal deadline for this next round application is Sept. 18.

"If we are successful in winning an award in the next round, Civic San Diego will be in a strong position to support countless more projects that will create high-quality jobs and provide tangible benefits to our communities," Morgan said.

Congress established the New Market Tax Credit program in 2000 to drive investment in both businesses and real estate projects in low-income communities. The program attracts investment capital to these communities by allowing corporations and individuals to receive a credit against their Federal income taxes in exchange for making direct equity investments in entities such as Civic San Diego. With the Copley-Price Family YMCA, for instance, Civic San Diego provided $23 million in New Market Tax Credits that were then purchased by US Bank to provide a low-interest loan of about $5 million.

Civic San Diego is actively working to identify qualifying projects to receive this type of investment. In order to qualify, a project must be located in, or directly benefit, a low-income community by creating quality jobs, or providing goods or services to low-income persons. This form of financing is intended to provide no more than 20 percent of a project’s total cost, and is best suited for large capital projects of $8 million or more. To present Civic San Diego with potential projects for New Market Tax Credit funding, contact Daniel Reeves at reeves@civicsd.com.