Citi Investment Renovates Abandoned School in D.C.’s Congress Heights
New Markets Tax Credits Provides Innovative Financing
Washington, D.C. - March 24, 2010 – Imagine Southeast Public Charter School (Imagine SE) will soon welcome students to its renovated facilities at the site of the former Old Congress Heights School (OCHS) thanks to an investment from Citi Community Capital (CCC). Open to all Washington, D.C. students, Imagine SE is a tuition-free public charter school offering the first "dual academy" (both genders) in single-sex academic programs. A ground-breaking ceremony is scheduled at the site April 19, 2010 at 10:30 A.M. to celebrate the start of rehabilitation.
Imagine SE was formed in 2008 and is currently operating in a church facility immediately adjacent to the OCHS building. OCHS, a 42,528 square foot building on 2.02 acres, was originally constructed in 1897 and has been empty for more than 10 years. Using New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC), CCC was able to provide the rehabilitation financing for the abandoned facility for renovation. The NMTC program, which is administered by the US Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, was created by Congress to encourage the flow of low cost and flexible private sector investment in the nation’s most economically distressed communities. The District of Columbia’s Department of Housing and Community Development and Department of Real Estate Services, through the Neighborhood Investment Fund and the City Build grant program, also provided funding and the ground lease to make this financing possible. The District is also working with Congress Heights Community Training and Development Corporation, a local community development corporation to implement community utilization of a portion of the renovated facility."
Stacy Scott, Imagine SE’s Principal said: "I am thrilled with Citi’s decision to invest in the Congress Heights community in Southeast Washington, D.C. Strengthening access to high quality education is a foundation of community transformation. Imagine Southeast Public Charter School is committed to changing the lives of students with a focus on strong academic content, character development, building community, and student leadership development. We do this in a unique context of single-gendered education."
Ms. Scott added, "The development of the Old Congress Heights school building is a dream that has been shared by many, for many years. I, the Board of Imagine SE, Imagine Schools, and the families of the 324 Pre-Kindergarten to fourth grade students we serve are thrilled with this development and look forward to living the fulfillment of this dream." Imagine SE is planning to grow by one grade per year until serving Pre-K through 8th grade.
Guillermo Franco, a director at CCC remarked, "We are pleased to be the lender for this property. Ward 8 is an underserved community with few educational choices for its children. OCHS will provide much needed space and amenities to stimulate academic success."
The rehabilitation and building improvements will be made by District Development Group (DDG), a joint venture of Capitol Services Management, Inc. (CSMI) and Innovative Development Solutions (IDS). The development team plans to transform the current eyesore into an active academic community with oversized classrooms, a library and other amenities that will have the capacity to serve a student body of 550 students, along with a multi-purpose facility designed to provide much needed community activity space. The focus of the renovation is to restore the building to its original Gothic revival style creating an anchor for the redevelopment of the local community.
Phinis Jones, president of CSMI said, "As a long-time resident of Ward 8, I am excited about the opportunity to be a part of the redevelopment efforts of Old Congress Heights School. This building has been vacant, under-utilized and unsafe in our community for far too long. Providing both an economic anchor and a much needed resource for our children are two of the many benefits that will be realized through this project."
Andrew Botticello of IDS remarked "The rehabilitation of this classic structure will provide a unique academic opportunity for children in the community as well as serve as the catalyst for further redevelopment in the Ward."
About Capitol Services Management
Capitol Services Management, Inc. (CSMI) is a certified minority (CBE, MDOT, D.C. WASA, Baltimore City) for-profit consulting, research, and development firm with special capabilities in job training, community development, improvement and program design, construction management real estate development. Chartered in the District of Columbia 25 years ago, CSMI was established to assist communities in alleviating unemployment and under employment, inadequate community development, and social service needs. CSMI has the capability to provide a broad range of services to government, businesses, institutions of higher education, and community based organizations.
About Innovative Development Solutions
Innovative Development Solutions (IDS) is a community development company focused on the creation of innovative housing and community facilities that serve to enhance the neighborhoods in which they are constructed. Utilizing the most current financing vehicles available, including a range of public-private partnerships, IDS creates value and long term benefits for the community. IDS has been active in the Washington area for over 10 years and has developed a range of projects in underserved areas of the District.
About Citi Community Capital
Citi Community Capital (CCC) is a premier financial partner with nationally recognized expertise in financing all types of affordable housing and community reinvestment projects. CCC’s origination, structuring, asset and risk management staff across the country provides creative financing solutions designed to meet their clients' needs. CCC helps community development financial institutions, real estate developers, national intermediaries and nonprofit organizations achieve their goals through a broad, integrated platform of debt and equity offerings.
Citi, the leading global financial services company, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 140 countries. Through Citicorp and Citi Holdings, Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com or www.citi.com.