Well, you can’t really top news about a $1 billion stadium with a fancy roof, but there was another big-money announcement about a Downtown project yesterday. The National Center for Civil and Human Rights got $24 million in funding thanks to a creative deal put together by Invest Atlanta and PNC bank.
“You can’t plan the timing of these things,” said Doug Shipman, the NCCHR executive director of his project's deal being overshadowed by the Falcons. “But what I care about is this: Looking out from my window, I can see equipment at work on the center and know we’re fully financed.”
The deal was a nine-month process, said Shipman. It took “lots of lawyers and experts” but essentially boils down to this: PNC is allocating $11 million to the center through a New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) grant, while Invest Atlanta is chipping in $13 million in tax credits. The NMTC program gives corporations tax breaks in exchange for investing in projects in low-income communities. Invest Atlanta projects that the center will create 700 jobs; Shipman says about 100 people will be directly employed full- and part-time by NCCHR.
What’s notable about this contribution is that it brings another national name to the project along with the usual-suspects roster of hometown corporate backers like Coca-Cola and Delta.
Phase 1 of the center is scheduled to be finished May 2014. Shipman says he’s confident the deadline will be met. "This was the last piece of the funding puzzle," he says.