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West Virginia Economic Development Authority OKs year's first tax-exempt projects in state

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Economic Development Authority approved bond allocation requests for two tax-exempt projects during its monthly meeting Thursday.

Arbors of Windsor Estates, LLC, requested $5 million to acquire, rehabilitate and equip a 109-unit multifamily residential rental facility, to be known as Windsor Manor Project, for affordable housing in Wheeling. The city of Wheeling will issue the bonds requested.

In Beckley, Greenbrier Estates Limited Partnership requested $4.8 million to acquire, rehabilitate and equip a 150-unit multifamily residential rental facility. Beckley will issue the bonds.

"Each state has an entity that approves the allocation for federal tax exemptions and that's the role we played," said David Warner, WVEDA executive director.

In 2011, 2012 and thus far in 2013, the WVEDA has not allocated the full amount of funds available for tax-exempt projects. On Nov. 1 of each year, any funds not used are then made available to anyone in the three separate tax-exempt categories. For the year, more than $175 million is available for tax-exempt projects in the state.

"There's just been very little demand in the last two years for projects that fall in that exempt category," Warner said.

Additionally, Warner said the tax-exempt rate is not a lot different than the borrowing rate right now.

"The differential is much less than it has been historically."

Also on Thursday, members agreed to modify existing collateral for an Ohio Valley Industry and Business Development Corp. project in the old Stone & Thomas building in Wheeling. Currently, WVEDA is leasing part of the building to Williams and Lee and Wheeling Jesuit University.

"We're not lending anymore money," Warner said. "We're helping facilitate the top three floors of that building to be developed into privately owned condominiums."

WVEDA is transferring its approved existing loan to a new borrower, named Red, located in Wheeling. Red is an affiliate entity of the regional economic development partnership.

"Their financing structure to do that requires us to amend our collateral," he added.

Reimbursement through the WVEDA excess lottery revenue bonds for projects at Cacapon and Beach Fork state parks have been delayed.

"The way the statue was approved in last year's legislative session, it did not clearly define the priority of the debt service coming from the excess lottery," Warner said. "Our lawyers weren't comfortable closing on the bonds because of that technicality."

If the statue isn't clarified in special legislative session, Warner said it could be until the next legislative session before the DNR is reimbursed.

TenX Group LLC agreed to the WVEDA's loan terms for $5 million over 15 years, as well as, VinTech Manufacturing, LLC, agreeing to loan terms for $141,000 over 15 years. Two prior approved projects for Blackheart International and Moorefield Training Center have been canceled.

WVEDA members also approved the following slate of officers: Richard Slater, vice chairman; Parween Sultany Mascari, assistant secretary/treasurer; David Warner, assistant secretary/treasurer; Jackie Browning, assistant secretary/treasurer; and Erin McCoy, assistant secretary/treasurer. The governor will appoint a chairman.  

Reach Caitlin Cook at caitlin.cook@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.


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