“Fairway” Financing – an alternative to the New Markets Tax Credit Program

Since the inception of the Federal New Markets Tax Credit program, the industry has evolved from the traditional phase of understanding how to use the program, to the tax credit investors driving the transaction, to most recently the community development entities with allocation controlling the benefits of the program. As a result of the scarcity of New Markets Tax Credit allocation, the historic equity benefit generated to the sponsors of projects has slowly diminshed. In contrast during the recent Duane Morris Real Estate and Finance Reception the guest speaker Bill Hankowsky described the extremely favorable terms of market rate financing for those borrowers in the “fairway”, e.g. meet the current underwriting criteria of conventional lenders. As a result, there is a diminishing gap between the cost of New Markets Tax credit subsidized financing and market rate financing for those sponsors who are in the “fairway”. Sponsors should consider whether they fall within the “fairway” of conventional financing when developing the capital stack of a project.