Paraquad and U.S. Bank have closed on a New Markets Tax Credit deal that will result in $16.2 million in financing toward renovations and debt refinancing at Paraquad.
With the funding, Paraquad, a nonprofit that serves people with disabilities in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, will renovate its current office facilities at 5240 Oakland Ave. and will construct a new Accessible Health and Wellness Center on property at 5200 Berthold Ave.
“We are ecstatic to be partnering with an excellent financial team to make this dream project a reality,” said Aimee Wehmeier, President and CEO of Paraquad. “The end result of these projects will be a stronger Paraquad that is better positioned to serve the evolving needs of people with disabilities.”
“We are highly focused on diversity and giving people of all capabilities and backgrounds the resources they need to realize their greatest potential. The work that Paraquad does is stellar, and we are proud to help widen its impact on the St. Louis community,” said Steve Kramer, senior vice president of U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, a division of U.S. Bank.
Three community development entities (CDEs) – IFF, St. Louis Development Corp. and Enterprise Financial CDE – provided New Markets Tax Credits that yielded nearly $5.5 million from the tax credit investor, U.S. Bank. That investment leveraged bank financing from Enterprise Bank & Trust, Pulaski Bank and IFF to cover construction projects and to refinance existing debt under more favorable terms.
With this funding, Paraquad will renovate its 50-year-old office building on Oakland Avenue. In phases, the entire building will be remodeled, addressing long-deferred updates to HVAC units, lighting and ductwork. An open floor plan concept will promote greater collaboration between programs and better utilize available space, and the completed project will provide additional space for meetings.
The renovated office space will also feature several new additions.
“We think the community will be very interested in the innovative features we are adding during the renovation,” said Wehmeier. “Highlights include a demonstration apartment that will showcase universal design and assistive technology and a restaurant that will be open to the public and provide much-needed, accessible employment training opportunities for people who are preparing for competitive jobs.”
Paraquad will occupy about 40 percent of the building, and the remainder will be renovated for lease to future tenants and to allow for future expansion.
The New Markets Tax Credits financing will also be used to construct a new, greatly expanded space for our accessible fitness activities. The future Accessible Health and Wellness Center will be three times the size of our current facility and serve nearly five times as many people (500) as we currently do. It will feature accessible exercise equipment with staff trained to assist people with disabilities to achieve their fitness goals. While serving the unique needs of people with disabilities will be a priority, the Center will be truly inclusive, with equipment and memberships for people without disabilities, as well.
The renovations of Paraquad’s office space will begin this summer and conclude in about 12 months. The Accessible Health and Wellness Center is slated to open in January 2017.
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About Paraquad: Founded in 1970, Paraquad is the leading disability services provider in the St. Louis region. One of the oldest Centers for Independent Living in the country, Paraquad’s mission is to empower people with disabilities to increase their independence through choice and opportunity. A key focus is to make St. Louis more accessible for all people by advocating, building awareness and delivering comprehensive services.
Phone: (314) 289-4348 or (314) 805-1556
Phone: (314) 289-4371 or (314) 957-8364