Baltimore – Construction is set to begin on a new 68,000 square foot ShopRite supermarket in Baltimore’s Howard Park neighborhood. Community residents, local stakeholders and public officials gathered today to celebrate the long-awaited store’s groundbreaking.
The supermarket is expected to open in spring 2014, significantly improving access to healthy food in a food desert neighborhood. The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) together with City First Bank is providing $14.65 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) financing towards the construction of the supermarket. TRF is also providing a senior leverage loan as part of that transaction. Other financing partners include the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) and JPMorgan Chase.
“This supermarket is a prime example of how TRF uses NMTC financing to benefit the community,” explains Don Hinkle-Brown, CEO of TRF. “These funds allow us to provide the flexible financing critical to bringing access to affordable healthy foods and economic opportunity to this community.”
The project is the culmination of years of effort to bring a supermarket to the community by long-time TRF partners in Baltimore, Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD) and the Child First program, along with the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) and the Howard Park Civic Association.
“What a great day this is for BUILD leaders like Rhona Lewis, Father Donald Sterling, Child First Principal Saundra Spratley-Adams and institutions like the New All Saints Roman Catholic Church, Gwynn Oak United Methodist church and others,’ said Ojeda Hall, BUILD’s Lead Organizer. “Their work early work along with organizers Coleman Milling and Lottie Sneed to canvass the neighborhood, engage hundreds of residents, and bring in TRF, BUILD’s partner, for financing, laid the groundwork for the victory we celebrate today.”
The store is expected to bring over 250 new jobs, many of which will be filled by local residents. The supermarket is a joint venture between two veteran Shoprite operators, Jeff Brown of UpLift Solutions and the Klein Family Markets.
In addition to NMTC financing, TRF also provided a predevelopment loan to the project through a Healthy Food Financing Initiative grant received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The supermarket will also benefit the community by housing a 1,000 square foot health clinic and pharmacy along with community rooms. One of rooms will be dedicated to supporting a cooking and nutrition education program for students of the adjacent Calvin Rodwell Elementary School.
TRF recently received an award of $45 million in NMTC through the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s CDFI Fund. TRF expects to use its new award to continue to fund high impact projects like the ShopRite supermarket in Howard Park.