Redevelopment. Resource Guide

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1 Redevelopment Resource Guide

2 One-Stop-Shop for Assistance As your one-stop-shop for business development and redevelopment, the Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership is here to help you navigate the redevelopment tools that help make revitalization efforts a reality. The Partnership serves a four county area with the Greater Omaha Chamber (Douglas County) partnering with Sarpy County Economic Development Corporation, Washington County s Gateway Development Corporation and Cass County Nebraska Economic Development Council. With the Greater Omaha Chamber as a catalyst, the metro s most historic communities are steadily being refreshed. The evidence and the energy is unmistakable. Throughout Midtown, North and South Omaha, new investment is flowing; community stakeholders and residents are engaging; and the quality of life is improving. The Chamber is proud of this progress and of the solid leadership being provided by its collaborative, community development efforts east of 72nd Street Destination Midtown, the North Omaha Development Project and the South Omaha Development Project. These bold initiatives not only support the process of economic development, they serve as capacity builders and central points of contact to facilitate and promote that progress. As the Chamber and each of the community development initiatives implement their strategic plans, there is a strong, continued focus on catalyzing development in east Omaha that results in significant investment. This guide is a reference tool to encourage quality development. It is a compilation of useful programs and incentives, available primarily in Douglas County, to assist investors and developers in their efforts to revitalize Greater Omaha s urban and historic neighborhoods. Our staff is here to help guide you through the process. For additional information, see the list of Partnership contacts on page 15. Disclaimer This document is to be utilized solely as a reference guide. Those interested in conducting development efforts are strongly encouraged to have legal, architectural, engineering and accounting expertise on their development team. For the most current version, check SelectGreaterOmaha.com. The procedures and/or program requirements contained herein may have changed since printing. The respective agencies listed in this document are the final authority on all topics covered. 2

3 Table of Contents Low-Income Housing Tax Credits...4 Federal Historic Tax Incentives...5 New Markets Tax Credit Program...7 Tax Increment Financing...8 Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) Brownfields Assistance Section 128(a) Assessments...10 Community Development Block Grant Program...11 City of Omaha Rental Rehabilitation Program...12 Valuation Incentive Program...14 Contacts

4 Low-Income Housing Tax Credits For an explanation of the program, allocation process and application, visit the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA) website: html?topic=desc&ps=choose&prog_name_ sent=lihtc+(tax+credits) Overview: As part of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, the U.S. Congress created the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) (Internal Revenue Code Section 42) to promote development of affordable rental housing for low-income individuals and families. The LIHTC, rather than a direct subsidy, encourages investment of private capital in the development of rental housing by providing a credit to offset an investor s federal income tax liability. The amount of credit a developer or investor may claim is directly related to the amount of qualified development costs incurred and the number of low-income units developed that meet the applicable federal requirements for both tenant income and rents. NIFA is designated as Nebraska s housing credit allocation agency. LIHTCs are often sold at a discount to institutional investors to provide immediate equity for the project. What types of projects are eligible? Multi-family residential developments What are the program requirements? Application that includes evidence of architectural plans, site control, financing commitments, zoning approval, affirmative marketing plan, owner s willingness to enter into a land use restriction agreement, market study, capital needs assessment for rehabilitation developments and prenotification of NIFA s CEO. What is the process to obtain the credits? 1. Discuss the project with NIFA 2. Compile the components of the application 3. Submit the application to NIFA 4. NIFA evaluates and ranks the application 5. NIFA issues a conditional reservation of credits 6. Project goes through a quality assurance process 7. NIFA issues a firm commitment of credits 8. Development placed in-service 9. Final LIHTC allocation How long is the process to obtain the credits? Depends on the project. What is the competition for the credits? Varies from year to year. 4

5 Federal Historic Tax Incentives Overview: Since 1976, the Internal Revenue Code has contained provisions offering tax credits for certified rehabilitation of certified historic structures that are rehabilitated for income-producing purposes. Certified historic structure, a building (and its structural components) that is of a character subject to the allowance for depreciation provided in section 167 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 that is either: (a) Individually listed in the National Register; or (b) Located in a registered historic district and certified by the Secretary of the Interior as being of historic significance to the district. Certified rehabilitation, any rehabilitation of a certified historic structure that the Secretary of the Interior has certified to the Secretary of the Treasury as being consistent with the historic character of the certified historic structure and, where applicable, with the district in which such structure is located. A project does not become a certified rehabilitation until it is completed and so designated by the National Park Service (NPS). Property owners who obtain a certified rehabilitation can claim 20 percent of their project s qualified rehabilitation costs in the form of a federal income tax credit, a dollar-for-dollar tax savings. The credit is generally taken the same year the project is placed into service or project completed date, if the property is never taken out of service. Unused portions of the credit can be carried back one year and forward 20 years. The tax incentive program also offers a 10 percent rehabilitation tax credit to owners of nonhistoric, nonresidential buildings constructed before For investors who do not wish to utilize the historic tax credits themselves, the credits may be sold on the open market, usually at a discount, to provide equity for the project. The Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office (NeSHPO) administers this program for the state of Nebraska and provides technical assistance to those applying. The NeSHPO processes certification requests and the NPS issues the certifications. Applicants are not required to obtain professional services to apply. However, for more complex projects the NeSHPO recommends applicants retain the services of architects and architectural historians that meet the Secretary of the Interior s professional qualification standards and have experience with certified rehabilitations. For tax questions, applicants should consult a professional tax advisor who is knowledgeable of the rehabilitation credits and with the IRS. Contact Colleen Gallagher, for clarification. What types of projects are eligible? New commercial, industrial and rental residential uses in certified historic structures. Properties that are not currently certified historic can apply; however, certified rehabilitations do not become final until the property is designated a certified historic structure. What are the program requirements? Rehabilitation must be substantial and involve a depreciable building. The NPS reviews all work associated with the project. All work must be in compliance with the Secretary of the Interior s Standards for Rehabilitation (the standards). 5

6 What is the process to obtain the credits? NeSHPO provides assistance to property owners throughout the application process. Early and often consultation with the NeSHPO is strongly encouraged. If the property is not currently a certified historic structure or located within a historic district (National Register listed district or locally designated district that has been certified by the Secretary of the Interior): 1. Submit a Certification of Historic Significance request (Part 1 of the Historic Preservation Certification Application, HPCA) to the NeSHPO. The NeSHPO has 30 days to review the submittal. After the review is completed it is forwarded to the NPS with recommendations. NPS has 30 days to review the submittal. If the application is determined to not be complete, NPS may put the review on hold and request additional information from the applicant. After the review is completed, NPS issues a determination of property s historic significance. 2. Submit Description of Proposed Work (Part 2 of the HPCA) to the NeSHPO. The NeSHPO has 30 days to review the submittal. After the review is complete it is forwarded to the NPS with recommendations. NPS has 30 days to review the submittal. If the application is determined to be not complete, NPS will put the review on-hold and request additional information from the applicant. After the review is completed, the NPS will issue a determination that the proposed work: Meets the standards Meets the standards with conditions Does not meet the standards 3. After all work is completed, submit a Request for Certification of Completed Work (Part 3 of the HPCA) to the NeSHPO. The NeSHPO has 30 days to review the submittal. After the review is complete it is forwarded to the NPS with recommendations. NPS has 30 days to review the submittal. If the application is determined to be not complete, NPS will put the review on hold and request additional information from the applicant. After the review is completed, the NPS will: Put the request on hold until additional work can be completed to bring the overall project into compliance with the standards. This is done when the work completed up to that point is found to not be in compliance with the standards. Issue a certificate of rehabilitation. Issue a denial of the applicant s Request for Certification of Completed Work. Such a determination will inform the applicant of how the overall project is not in compliance with the standards and also inform the applicant of their right to appeal the decision to the chief appeal officer. How long is the process to obtain the credits? The overall timeframe for a project, from beginning to a certificate of rehabilitation issued by the NPS, is dependent upon how quickly the applicant can create technically complete submittals and how fast the actual work can be completed. What is the competition for the credits? There is no lid/cap on the amount of credits allocated to a state or specific project. The amount of credits received by an applicant is dependent upon the project s total qualified rehabilitation expenditures. 6

7 New Markets Tax Credit Program Overview: The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program is a federal program that provides tax credits for investors in projects that occur in low-income communities. Because of the low-income requirement, only certain census tracts within the metropolitan area will qualify. The program is administered by the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, which is part of the Department of the Treasury. The program was initiated in 2000 and has been extended through the 2011 funding round with $3.5 billion in project authority available. What types of projects are eligible? The most common use for NMTC is real estate development projects that have a commercial component. Purely residential projects do not qualify. Either new construction or building rehabilitation is eligible. They can be used for non-real estate projects but NMTC funds must stay within the specified geographic area for a minimum of seven years. NMTC may be combined with Federal Historic Tax Credits in some instances. Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is also commonly used with NMTC. What is the process to obtain the credits? The CDFI allocates New Markets Tax Credit to approved community development entities (CDE) on an annual basis and not to specific projects, so a developer seeking NMTC for a project needs to work with a CDE with available allocation rather than applying directly to the CDFI. CDEs are often regional or national not-for-profit economic development organizations or large financial institutions that have a CDE arm. Chamber staff can assist in locating potential CDE organizations. What are the program requirements? NMTCs are earned through a qualified equity investment in a project located in an eligible census tract. In essence, an entity invests in a CDE. That investment flows to the specific project. In return, the investor receives a total tax credit equal to 39 percent of the investment over a period of seven years (five percent of the investment each year for the first three years and six percent each year for years four through seven). How long is the process to obtain the credits? All other financing must essentially be committed before beginning the NMTC process NMTC is the final step, not the first. Once an allocation has been located and committed, the actual closing for the NMTC structure can be a lengthy process, so a developer should expect a minimum of three months or more to complete. What is the competition for the credits? Competition for available allocation can be fierce. Projects that have all their other financing in place will be the most competitive. Example: A CDE receives an allocation of $2 million in NMTC project authority, which allows investors to make a $2 million equity investment in the CDE for a specific project. Assuming all other requirements are met, the investors would be entitled to claim NMTC equal to 39 percent of $2 million or $780,000 as follows: Year One: 5% of $2 million = $100,000 Year Two: 5% of $2 million = $100,000 Year Three: 5% of $2 million = $100,000 Year Four: 6% of $2 million = $120,000 Year Five: 6% of $2 million = $120,000 Year Six: 6% of $2 million = $120,000 Year Seven: 6% of $2 million = $120,000 Total NMTC: $780,000 The amount of the project s qualified equity investment that is eligible for tax credits is based on the amount of NMTC allocation available from the CDE not the amount of tax credits received. In this example, the project would need to find a CDE with $2 million in available allocation not $780,000 (the amount of the tax credits). As with most federal tax credit programs, the credits generated through NMTC are sold up-front on the open market at a discount to generate immediate (and permanent) equity for the project, reducing the amount of borrowed capital required for the project. The amount paid for the credits can vary and depend greatly on the current market demand for credits overall. Project size for NMTC usually needs to be of at least $4 million up to $12 million to $14 million. Projects larger than $14 million usually require multiple CDE participation. 7

8 Tax Increment Financing economic-development/tax-increment-financing Overview: Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is an extremely useful financing tool for development. In Omaha, areas that are generally available to use this tool lie east of 72nd Street. Certain criteria, such as job creation or removal of blight, may also need to be demonstrated by the project. The information below describes how the TIF process works in Omaha. What types of projects are eligible? Most commercial and mixed-use developments qualify. TIF can be used for the following project activities: Public improvements associated with a project that is located in a redevelopment area A portion of site acquisition costs (determined by city review) Site preparation, demolition, grading, surcharging, special foundations and other work prior to construction of the project Utility extensions and hookups Rehabilitation of structures within the redevelopment project area To be eligible for TIF, a project must be larger than $250,000 in new value resulting in a minimum TIF loan amount of $25,000. TIF can be combined with most other development financing mechanisms including New Markets Tax Credit Program, Federal Historic Tax Incentives and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. What are the program requirements? As the name implies, TIF uses the increased tax revenues produced by a project to finance the cost of improvements. Generally, 10 percent to 12 percent of the total project costs can be directed back into the project through these redirected property taxes. For example, for a project that results in $2 million in new value, approximately $240,000 in direct benefit can be channeled back to the project through TIF. What is the process to obtain financing through the program? An application for TIF must be submitted to the Omaha City Planning Department for eligibility review. If eligible, the application is reviewed by the TIF committee and then the Planning Board. Final approval comes from the Omaha City Council. 8

9 Example: Project Costs Eligible Expense for TIF Site acquisition $500,000 Yes (not all costs may be eligible) Demolition and site prep $150,000 Yes Foundations $25,000 Yes Water/sewer improvements $25,000 Yes New construction $1,800,000 No (building rehabilitation is an eligible expense) Total project cost $2,500,000 Previous site value $500,000 New site value $2,500,000 Increment value available for TIF $2,000,000 TIF benefit (12% x increment) $240,000 Typically, a developer will work with their financial institution to arrange a separate loan for the project with the revenue stream generated by the TIF dedicated to repaying the loan. The city will send these funds directly to the financial institution. A contract (redevelopment agreement) with the city will detail the specific obligations of each party in the project. How long is the process to obtain city approval? A developer should allow at least 90 days to receive approvals from all the bodies after submitting a complete application. If the site is not within an already designated blighted area, the process could take an additional 45 days. What is the competition for financing? As long as the project meets program criteria and meets required approvals, the project can qualify for financing. 9

10 Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) Brownfields Assistance Section 128(a) Assessments Overview: Section 128(a) assessments are environmental site assessments (ESA) that provide preliminary environmental information to determine if contamination exists on a property known as brownfield. Common brownfields include, but are not limited to, vacant or under-utilized industrial or commercial property in older parts of communities. The NDEQ offers assessments to communities and nonprofit organizations at no cost. The initial assessment, Phase I ESA, examines the background, setting and past uses of a property. It includes a records review, site reconnaissance, interviews, and, as a final product, a report documenting the environmental conditions at the property with recommendations. If the Phase I ESA recommends additional assessment, the applicant will need to indicate to NDEQ that they are interested in a follow-up assessment. A Phase II ESA examines and evaluates the environmental conditions identified in the initial assessment with soil and groundwater sampling. The results of the sampling and analyses most often determine if contamination exists as a result of historical uses of the site and if the site can be defined as a brownfield. What types of projects are eligible? Eligible sites are those meeting the definition of a brownfield. Certain sites are excluded from the program including, but not limited to, sites under an order or permit from a federal cleanup program. What are the program requirements? NDEQ performs ESAs for eligible interested parties at eligible sites. Interested parties may include communities and counties planning to redevelop sites that have an environmental stigma. Organizations that represent community interests, including city or county government, nonprofit economic development organizations and regional councils of government, are eligible. For-profit development organizations and individuals who are responsible for causing the contamination are not generally eligible. Preference is given to projects that have an economic development benefit for a community. What is the process to participate in the program? 1. Interested parties should contact the NDEQ s voluntary cleanup program (VCP) coordinator to discuss their proposed project. 2. Interested parties must obtain access to the property for the purposes of allowing the NDEQ s contractor to perform the assessment activities. 3. A Section 128(a) Assessment Application and Access Agreement must be completed and submitted to the VCP coordinator. 4. NDEQ reviews the application and determines the eligibility of the site and availability of funds. 5. Upon approval of the application and project, NDEQ tasks its contractor to conduct the work. 6. Upon completion of the work, a report will be provided to the applicant and site owner. 7. NDEQ and the applicant will discuss the results of the findings and possible next steps. How long is the application process? Depends on the project. Typically ranges from three to five months. What is the competition for the program? First-come, first-served, fiscal year begins July 1. 10

11 Community Development Block Grant Program Overview: The federal government provides Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program funds to states and any city with a population of more than 50,000 (entitlement communities). The city of Omaha currently qualifies as an entitlement community and receives a direct allocation of CDBG funds. The city of Bellevue qualified as an entitlement community in Entitlement communities and states are allowed to utilize CDBG funds for development projects as long as federal guidelines are met. CDBG funding can be provided to projects either as a grant or as a low-interest loan. What is the process to apply for program funds? In the city of Omaha, applications are accepted by the Planning Department on the first working day of June. The application requires information about how the project benefits low- and moderate-income individuals, the applicant, a description of the project, the project s sources and uses budget, and a five-year operating pro forma. The application is reviewed by the Planning Department and is subject to a public hearing. If the Planning Department recommends the project for funding, it is forwarded to the City Council and mayor for additional hearings and approval. What are the program requirements? All CDBG projects must meet at least one of the national objectives: Benefit low- and moderate-income individuals Prevent slums or blight Meet an urgent community need (alleviate an emergency condition) By meeting the prevention of slums and blight definition, redevelopment activities can qualify for CDBG funding through many city of Omaha programs. Slum and blight can be defined as a geographic area or a specific building or address. For a specific address, a public safety or health issue must be alleviated. Eligible activities for slum and blight prevention include acquisition, clearance, relocation, historic preservation, environmental remediation and building rehabilitation. How long is the process to obtain an award through CDBG? Allow four to six months to work through the process. Applications are due to the city of Omaha Planning Department by June 1. Awards are not final until signed by the mayor. A contract between the city and the applicant must be completed before the disbursement of funds. What is the competition for funding? Competition for funding can vary from year to year but is typically very competitive. The bigger the benefit to low- and moderateincome individuals and/or the prevention of blight, the higher the project will rank for funding. Applicants are encouraged to consult early with the Chamber s community development team and the city s Planning Department to ensure the project will meet these requirements. 11

12 12 City of Omaha Rental Rehabilitation Program housing/investor-owned-housing-rehabilitation/rental-rehabilitationprogram-rrp Overview: The Rental Rehabilitation Program (RRP) is designed to provide rehabilitation financing assistance to investors in existing residential (one to four units) rental properties. Investor owners are eligible for assistance if their property is located within the lowand moderate-income designated areas of Omaha. This is generally east of 72nd Street. Although the program is administered by the city of Omaha, the program is funded federally through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The minimum level of funding is $1,000 per unit and is to be leveraged on a one-toone basis with private funds. Funds will be disbursed by the investor owner first and the city last. Maximum assistance levels are established by the number of bedrooms in a unit and increased to accommodate handicap accessibility and lead-based paint reduction. These levels, depending on unit size, can be up to 50 percent of the project cost. Financial assistance for this program is normally in the form of a deferred payment loan. What types of projects are eligible? Existing residential rental properties (one to four units) What are the program requirements? Project applicant must own the rental property. Property must have one or more substandard conditions/code violations. Eligible property rehabilitation activities are limited to those necessary to correct substandard conditions, to make essential improvements and to repair major systems in danger of failure. Complete the rehabilitation in six months. After completion of the rehabilitation, the property must meet all state, federal and local ordinances, regulations and codes. A minimum of 51 percent (50 percent for duplexes) of the rentable floor space of the project after rehabilitation needs to be used for residential rental purposes. One-hundred percent of the single-family home units must be occupied by renters at or below 80 percent of the median income by family size. Units must have at least two bedrooms. Must match program funds on a one-to-one basis. Maintain property standards throughout the affordability period (five to 15 years). Maintain records and make annual reports to the city during the affordability period. Rent to low-income and moderate-income families. Affirmatively market property in accordance with the city of Omaha Affirmative Action Marketing Policy (AAMP).

13 What is the process to obtain financial assistance under this program? 1. RRP coordinator provides applicant with the application and required documents for completion. 2. Application and all required documents are returned to RRP coordinator for review. 3. Property ownership is verified. 4. Credit of the applicant is checked. 5. Construction specialist receives application for the construction write-up. 6. Construction specialist verifies the construction cost. 7. RRP coordinator drafts the agreement between the city of Omaha and the applicant. 8. Upon an executed agreement, a lien will be placed on the property by the city of Omaha. 9. RRP coordinator issues the order to proceed. 10. If the investor owner of the property retains title to the program-assisted property for an agreed upon period of time, the loan and the lien securing the property will be released. How long is the process to obtain this city financing? The length of the process depends on the availability of funds and the timing on the return of requested documents. What is the competition for the financing? This is not a competitive program. The ability to fund the project is based on availability of funds for the program. Applicants are served on a first-come, first-served basis as long as complete applications are submitted. All projects must be financially feasible, contractors must meet the standards as designated by the city Planning Department and all matching funds cash or loan must be verifiable and available for the project. 13

14 Valuation Incentive Program Overview: The Valuation Incentive Program (VIP) allows a property tax preference for a historic property that has been rehabilitated. The preference is a temporary hold on increases to a property s assessed value resulting from improvements made to rehabilitate historically significant real property. A certified project in a qualifying historic property will result in the property s assessed valuation being frozen for eight years at its pre-rehabilitation value. The valuation then rises to its market level over a period of four years. Historically significant real property is defined as real property that is: individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places, or contributes to the historic significance of a National Register listed historic district, or is individually designated as historic by a municipality with a historic preservation ordinance approved by the Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office (NeSHPO), or contributes to the historic significance of a historic district that has been designated historic by a municipality with a historic preservation ordinance approved by the NeSHPO. What types of projects are eligible? Historic properties. Generally speaking, all improvements are eligible except those considered to be new construction located outside existing structures. What are the program requirements? The real property must be taxable. Property must be designated as a historically significant real property and must be received by the NeSHPO before work on a project begins. The total cost of the rehabilitation must meet or exceed 25 percent of the base-year assessed value of the property. All work done to rehabilitate the property must meet the U.S. Secretary of the Interior s Standards for Rehabilitation (the standards) and all work must be done during a two-year period. In certain circumstances the NeSHPO may offer an extended rehabilitation period. What is the process? 1. Contact the NeSHPO. 2. Complete Parts 1 and 2 of the application and submit them to the NeSHPO. Part 1 is a request for the NeSHPO to determine if the real property is Historically Significant Real Property. Part 2 is a request for the NeSHPO to review the applicant s proposed work. 3. The NeSHPO reviews the proposed work, and if the application is complete issues a preliminary certification of rehabilitation letter (conditional approval letter). 4. When the project is complete, the applicant completes Part 3 of the application and submits it to the NeSHPO. Part 3 is a request for the NeSHPO to determine if the completed overall project is in compliance with the standards. 5. If the project is found to be in compliance with the standards, the NeSHPO issues a final certificate of rehabilitation letter to the applicant and provides a copy to the county assessor. 6. The property s assessed value reverts to the base-year valuation. This occurs at the first assessment year following the NeSHPO s issuance of the project s final certificate of rehabilitation letter. How long is the application process? The overall time frame is dependent on how quickly the applicant can provide complete submittals to the NeSHPO and how fast the actual rehabilitation work can be completed. 14

15 Contacts Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership Winsley Durand, director minority economic development / retail attraction Destination Midtown Jamie Grayson-Berglund, director community development North Omaha Development Project Ed Cochran, executive director South Omaha Development Project Karen Mavropoulos, project coordinator Our Regional Partners Cass County Nebraska Economic Development Council John Yochum, executive director Gateway Development Corporation (Washington County) Paula Hazlewood, executive director Sarpy County Economic Development Corporation Toby Churchill, executive director Bruce Fountain, director of business development

16 SelectGreaterOmaha.com Harney St., Omaha, NE Grover St., Omaha, NE The Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership represents a four county area that includes the Greater Omaha Chamber (Douglas County), Cass County Nebraska Economic Development Council, Gateway Development Corporation (Washington County) and Sarpy County Economic Development Corporation. This seamless regionalized economic development organization operates as a one-stop shop for all of your economic development needs. July For additional data, go to SelectGreaterOmaha.com

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