Spokane Journal of Business

Community development unit invests $3.2 billion

BofA lending in ’14 led to 13,000 new housing units

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Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America Merrill Lynch Community Development Banking says it provided more than $3.2 billion in loans, tax credit equity investments, and other real estate development financial tools to more than 550 clients last year. 

That financing, it says, has helped to create more than 13,000 housing units for individuals, families, seniors, students, veterans and other at-risk groups across the country.

This effort included a range of innovative financial programs for developments, many of which incorporate green and transit-oriented elements, as well as nearly $2 billion in commercial real estate-based lending and more than $1.1 billion in tax credit investments.

More than 140,000 affordable housing units have been constructed during the past 10 years through BofA financing, the company says.

“There is a tremendous need for affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization across the U.S.,” says Maria Barry, BofA Merrill Community Development Banking executive. 

She says that for 30 years, Bank of America Merrill Lynch has been a leader in helping to create sustainable communities through a team of real estate experts who specialize in community development financing through a variety of innovative debt and equity 

A number of significant projects closed in 2014. 

A mixed-income, mixed-use housing revitalization project, called 655 Morris Ave. and developed by OMNI NY, in the Bronx, N.Y., consists of a 176-unit apartment building, with 20 percent designated for formerly homeless individuals. The bank financed a $32 million construction period letter of credit and a $21 million tax credit equity investment via Alliant Capital Ltd.

In Chicago, Legends South Phase III consists of 66 units in 11 newly constructed buildings, providing public, affordable and market rate housing for families and young professionals. The bank provided Michaels Development $12.6 million in debt and $15.6 million in federal low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) equity. This is the third phase of a large-scale redevelopment of a former public housing site with 549 units already completed in the earlier phases.

Cicero & George Senior Apartments will provide a 70-unit new construction LIHTC development for seniors 55 and older in Chicago. Sponsored by the Hispanic Housing Development Corp., the project’s financing included a $9.5 million construction loan commitment and a $12.3 direct tax credit investment by the bank.

In Hopewell, Va., the bank says it provided Community Housing Partners a $6.5 million construction loan, $6.6 million in direct equity, and a $1.5 million standby Federal Housing Administration (FHA) forward commitment. The project sponsor financed the demolition and replacement of a 30-unit public housing development, Langston Apartments, with 56 new affordable family units and offers financial literacy and self-sufficiency courses as part of its supportive services.

In Long Beach, Calif., the bank helped finance Long Beach & 21st Senior Apartments. The 41-unit building will serve special-needs seniors—homeless or at risk of being homeless—and median-income seniors. Meta Housing Corp. obtained a $12 million construction loan and $13 million in equity from the bank to fund this project.

The bank worked with Volunteers of America on Blue Butterfly Village, financing the rehabilitation of a 76-unit townhome-style development in San Pedro, Calif. The $13 million construction loan, $1 million AHP grant, and $17 million indirect equity investment upgraded housing for low-income veteran and homeless households, with a portion of the units designated for tenants in mental health services programs.

The bank provided a $22 million direct LIHTC investment and a nearly $18 million construction loan for the rehabilitation of 105 supportive units at the Franciscan Towers in San Francisco. Owned and managed by the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corp., the development provides safe, supervised drop-in space to play and learn for more than 250 five- to 18-year-olds. It also has 35 units designated for the formerly homeless.

The bank helped DC Preparatory Academy, in Washington, D.C., with $12.7 million in new markets tax credit (NMTC) equity and $14.8 million in NMTC debt loans for acquisition of a campus, renovation of the existing elementary school, and construction of a new middle school. The school was able to increase the number of preschool to eighth-grade students served from 506 to 711 and create 32 new staff positions.

The Somerset Academy, Losee Campus, is a public charter school in Las Vegas. The bank provided developer Turner-Agassi $14.5 million in construction and mini-perm credit facilities that will be used to construct the high school, enabling the school to serve 2,320 students from kindergarten to 12th grade.

“Bank of America Merrill Lynch is committed to helping underserved neighborhoods become thriving communities,” says Katy Gnapp, BofA Merrill Commercial Real Estate Banking executive. “Community Development Banking uses a wide variety of financing solutions to help provide affordable housing, improve education and create jobs, thereby improving the quality of life for residents in those communities.”

Community Development Banking includes the Banc of America Community Development Corp., which serves as a development partner and provides debt and equity financing for properties in low- and moderate-income communities across the country. In 2014, BACDC completed more than $55 million in developments and began construction on more than $83 million in developments.

Bank of America is one of the world’s largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small- and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. 

The company serves about 48 million consumers and small businesses with approximately 4,800 retail banking offices and approximately 15,800 ATMs. The company serves clients through operations in more than 40 countries. Its online banking has about 31 million active users, in addition to about 17 million mobile users. 

Bank of America also is involved in wealth management, as well as in corporate and investment banking and trading across a range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions, and individuals around the world. It says it offers support to about 3 million small business owners through a suite of online products and services. Bank of America Corp. stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

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