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NMTC Case Study 03

Woodson Park Academy
Grove Park Foundation

A community-driven partnership led to the redevelopment of a former Atlanta Public Schools (APS) middle school in the Grove Park neighborhood of Atlanta. Including educational and health services, the project resulted from a multi-year collaboration of nonprofits, public agencies, corporations, foundations and the Grove Park community.

Engaged as NMTC advisor by both Grove Park Foundation and the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, Columbia Capital provided comprehensive NMTC advisory services on two inter-related Qualified Equity Investments: one for the school, for which Grove Park Foundation served as APS's proxy; and one for the YMCA Early Learning Center and health clinic.

Delayed by COVID, the 115,000 sf Woodson Park Academy opened to a small cohort of students in Spring 2021 and to all students in Fall 2021. Ultimately, APS expects the school to serve 900 students. The 23,000 sf YMCA Early Learning Center also opened in 2021 and will ultimately include six Head Start classrooms. The 2,500 sf health center will provide important healthcare access for all members of the Grove Park Community.

Across the two QEI stacks, Columbia Capital secured $32 million in Federal NMTC allocation: $11 million for the YMCA/health center from Nonprofit Finance Fund and SunTrust Community Capital; and, $21 million for the Woodson Park Academy from Atlanta Emerging Markets, Inc. and SunTrust Community Capital. The capital stack included self-leverage from the Grove Park Foundation and YMCA (with a fundraising source loan separate from the NMTC capital stack) and $16 million in school construction sales tax dollars structured as a pre-paid sublease upon APS's possession of the Academy.

Grove Park Foundation reports that 40% of contractors for the overall project were qualified minority- and women-owned companies. (Photo Credit: Grove Park Foundation)