The City of Grambling; Kimble Development; Enhanced Community Development LLC, a subsidiary of Enhanced Capital; Hamptons Roads Ventures LLC; and First NBC Bank recently announced an economic development project to provide residents of Grambling, Louisiana, with much-needed retail options, including the town’s only conventional grocery store and pharmacy.
Called the Legends Square Retail Development, the project is being financed in part by $10 million of federal New Markets Tax Credit allocation. The development is projected to create 100 full-time, local jobs and will add significantly to the local tax base.
The City of Grambling is well-known across Louisiana and throughout the country for being home to the renowned Grambling State University (GSU), famous for academic excellence and a remarkable athletic legacy. Despite Grambling’s national reputation, the area is designated as a “food desert” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, meaning residents lack access to quality, affordable fresh foods. Members of the community are forced to travel to surrounding areas to shop for groceries and other basic retail commodities. Not only is the additional travel inconvenient, it also means that precious tax and economic development dollars are being exported to surrounding localities instead of generating benefits for the City of Grambling.
“We are so excited about this announcement and what it means for the City of Grambling,” said City of Grambling Mayor Ed Jones. “This development is important because it gives our community access to much-needed local shopping options, and it will be a catalyst for other economic development projects. Today is really just the beginning of an exciting new chapter for our citizens.”
The six-acre Legends Square Retail Development will include the construction of a 48,300-square-foot retail development. The new development will feature a full-size grocery store and pharmacy, as well as a space for four new commercial retail stores. Approximately 2,000 square feet will be dedicated to honoring the City of Grambling and GSU greats like the first mayor of Grambling, the late B. T. Woodard; the late legendary football coach Eddie Robinson; the late legendary basketball coach Fredrick C. Hobdy; and publicist Collie J. Nicholson.
In addition to celebrating Grambling’s past, the development is also expected to generate new local economic opportunities that will help create a new generation of Grambling leaders.
“As a developer, one of the greatest parts of our work is helping to create projects that can positively impact a community,” said Mike Kimble, one of the owners of Kimble Development. “This project is going to make a tremendous difference for the Grambling community, and we are so proud to be involved.”
The federal New Markets Tax Credit program was designed to encourage private capital investment in job-creating projects for communities like Grambling that have been historically underserved by traditional sources of capital. The Legends Square Retail Development is projected to create 100 jobs, and the construction process is expected to create 125 construction jobs.
“This development is a great example of the New Markets Tax Credit program attracting private capital investment in a community project with significant economic impact. Enhanced Capital has a strong record of participating in these types of public-private partnerships, and we are so proud to be a part of the Grambling community,” stated Richard Montgomery, Vice President of Enhanced Community Development, LLC.
The Legends Square Retail Development, which is located at 920 R.W.E. Jones Drive in Grambling, is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2016.
“This project has been a long time coming for the City of Grambling and its citizens. Hampton Roads Ventures LLC is proud to participate in the Legends Square Retail Development and is excited to see the ripple effect it will have for the community,” said Jennifer Donohue, Chief Operating Officer of Hampton Roads Ventures LLC. “This investment captures the spirit of what the New Markets Tax Credit program was created to do.”
New Orleans-based First NBC Bank and its Executive Vice President Brad Calloway are no strangers to utilizing tax credits in private-public partnerships.
“Our relationship-driven bank continues to show how using tax credit dollars has created jobs and re-energized low-income New Orleans neighborhoods. We are now working with rural communities to continue these types of developments,” Calloway said. He pointed to the utilization of tax credits dollars in the construction of numerous retail outlets developed in underserved areas and the restoration of a historic grocery store. “These projects have breathed new life into New Orleans area neighborhoods, and the Legends Square Retail Development will provide the Grambling community with similar positive benefits,” added Calloway.