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In 2018, LISC NYC substantially grew our economic development investments in projects that provide social, physical and economic benefits to low income residents.
We continued the Commercial Corridor Challenge, a partnership of LISC NYC, Citi Community Development, the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS), and three community partners to supplement SBS’s Neighborhood 360⁰ program which strengthens and revitalizes the streets, small businesses, and community-based organizations that anchor New York City neighborhoods. Our community partners were the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce working on Bay Street in Stapleton, WHEDco working on Southern Boulevard in the Bronx and Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation working on Fulton Street in East New York, Brooklyn. Through the program, small local businesses received funding and technical assistance for façade improvements, new signage and other renovations, in order to increase food traffic, raise the perception of safety and enhance these corridors as a whole.
To mark the completion of the program, NYC Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop joined us to celebrate the storefront business upgrades on Fulton Street in collaboration with our local partner Cypress Hills LDC.
Deputy Director Eva Alligood was quoted in Wall Street Journal coverage of our Commercial Corridor Challenge, as well as Fox5 News. Additional press coverage appeared in Curbed, WPIX, NY1 News, Brooklyn Reader, and Crain’s New York Business.
In the spring of 2018, LISC NYC was honored to be named, for the second time, a Citi Foundation Community Progress Maker. LISC NYC joined a leading group of 40 organizations across the country supporting their communities by bringing together residents, nonprofits, business, and municipal agencies to drive new economic opportunities. We are utilizing the $500,000 award to continue progress on our inclusive economic development work, with a particular focus on financing affordable spaces for artists, artisans, and manufacturers that offer middle skills jobs.
In the fall we were thrilled to launch our NYC Inclusive Creative Economy Fund. The Fund engages impact investors in LISC NYC's goal of creating and preserving affordable spaces for manufacturing, businesses, studios and cultural activities in order to let the inclusive economy thrive while fostering job opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. Our partner Upstart Co-Lab and our Progress Makers award allowed us to leverage additional funding from ArtPlace America, Deutsche Bank, New York Community Trust, and Rockefeller Brothers Fund, to launch our NYC Inclusive Creative Economy Fund. LISC NYC has raised new capital from high net worth individuals and donor advised funds.
The launch of the Fund was covered by The New York Times in an article featuring impact investors Lorre Meyercord, Katherine Fulton, and Katharine Kunst as well as strategic partner Upstart Co-Lab and LISC NYC borrower La Mama ETC. The Fund was also featured in a publication by Cornerstone Capital Group in an article titled The Creativity Lens in Practice, by LISC NYC's Executive Director Sam Marks.
In Fall 2018, we helped launch projects supported by our NYC Inclusive Creative Economy Fund. In September, we celebrated the groundbreaking of renovations at the La MaMa Experimental Theater Club which has been the home to a diverse array of artists and performers for over 50 years and still stands as a cultural landmark for NYC at their 174 East 4th Street theater space. LISC NYC was pleased to provide a $3 million loan to bridge the project’s City capital commitments.
In November we celebrated the demolition of the Bronx Spofford Juvenile Detention Center to make way for The Peninsula, a mixed use affordable housing and light manufacturing complex. The complex will have 740 affordable housing units and will create nearly 300 quality jobs in industrial and food manufacturing. The project was developed by the Mutual Housing Association of NY (MHANY) in partnership with the NYC Economic Development Corporation. LISC is proud to be providing a $5 million loan to support MHANY for the industrial components of this project.
In 2018 we also closed on $7 million in financing of Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation’s Building 127. This repurposed Sweet N’ Low Factory will have 95,000 square feet of manufacturing space and is expected to support more than 300 permanent jobs.