Northern Kentucky fund gets federal boost

Mar 5, 2015

The Catalytic Fund helped developers create the Market Lofts in Covington out of two vacant, historic buildings.
Credit Provided / The Catalytic Fund

A Northern Kentucky revitalization agency is just the third in Greater Cincinnati to earn a federal financing certification.

Development Services Manager Tara Ford says the Catalytic Fund is now a Community Development Financing Institution (CDFI).

According to a Catalytic Fund statement, CDFI certified financial institutions "are eligible to apply for the comprehensive services it offers including grants and loans provided by Financial Assistance Awards, allocations of New Market Tax Credits, and bond guarantee programs that are administered annually."

"It's a great opportunity to bring these funds from the U.S. Department of Treasury, as well as the potential new market tax allocations, to projects that are happening on this side of the river," says Ford.

Ford says the private, not-for-profit agency helps find funding and development assistance for urban revitalization projects in Ludlow, Covington, Newport, Bellevue and Dayton, Kentucky.

"It really opens the door to additional federal funds, that certainly we still have to apply for, that we are now eligible for from grants and loans as well as, eventually, new market tax credits," she says.

The fund says it is only the twelfth in Kentucky to earn the certification.

More about The Catalytic Fund:

To be eligible for CDFI Certification, an organization must be a legal, non-governmental entity that has a primary mission of promoting community development, provides both financial and development services and serves and maintains accountability to one or more defined target markets.   

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With this certification, The Catalytic Fund joins the CDFI Fund national network of financial institutions formally acknowledged through a rigorous application process to have a community development-based mission that expands economic activity and opportunity. The Catalytic Fund addresses the need for patient capital to support construction and/or rehabilitation of market rate housing and mixed-use real estate projects that are essential to the revitalization of Northern Kentucky’s urban communities.

The Catalytic Fund provides capital to finance real estate development/redevelopment projects via a $10,000,000 investment fund to fill gaps between traditionally underwritten loans, developer’s equity, and project costs.  Although the Catalytic Fund expects its capital to be returned, it can be patient and flexible allowing time for the project to succeed.  Some of the Catalytic Fund’s recent investments include:

  • The Market Lofts – Renovation and adaptive re-use of vacant building for market rate apartments
  • Pike Star – Mixed-use historic renovation project creating commercial space for a regional informatics accelerator and mixed income apartment units
  • Mutual Building – Conversion of long vacant but historically significant office building to street level commercial space and upper floor market rate apartments.

The Catalytic Fund also provides development services to structure and execute complex real estate transactions such as the property assemblages and lease negotiations resulting in converting two blighted properties to high impact community facilities, the Life Learning Center and the Kentucky Career Center in Covington.