The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, The Springfield Project (TSP) and Economic Growth Corporation have formed a Limited Liability Company (LLC), for the purposes of redeveloping the former First United Methodist Church at the corner of Fifth and Capitol in downtown Springfield. The prominent but vacant downtown property will be redeveloped into a mixed-use facility with commercial and residential space. The construction team will include Evan Lloyd Associates Inc. as the architect and O’Shea Builders as the construction manager.
The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce and The Springfield Project will occupy the former church sanctuary which will be redeveloped as office space. An additional 1,400 square feet of main floor office space will be available in the building’s education wing. Current plans call for the remainder of the education wing to house twenty-five market rate residential units. There will be sixteen (16) one bedroom apartments and nine (9) two bedroom apartments. There are ongoing discussions with a local organization about utilizing the commercial kitchen in the lower level of the facility.
The completion of the project is dependent upon a number of factors. This project plans to utilize four different types of financing including New Markets Tax Credits, Federal Historic Tax Credits and Tax Increment Financing (TIF), as well as debt financing. A commitment of NMTC has already been received and the city’s Economic Development Commission unanimously recommended City Council approval of the TIF request.
While TIF and Historic Tax Credit projects are familiar incentives in Springfield, the New Markets Tax Credits are not as common, only a few local projects have utilized the program. New Markets Tax Credits provide private investors a federal tax credit for investments made in projects targeted in distressed census tracts. This tax credit provides equity into the project and is offered through the US Department of the Treasury.
The development plan calls for design work and financing of the project to be completed in the first quarter of 2017, with construction beginning shortly thereafter. The construction phase of the project is expected to take about a year to complete once all sources of financing have been secured.
While there are a number of moving parts that will make this project a reality, we are encouraged by the progress that has been made to date. We are committed to encouraging and promoting downtown revitalization. A great way to do that is to redevelop this prominent facility that has been empty for over eight years, address the need for additional downtown residential units, increase the tax rolls by tens of thousands of dollars each year, all while returning The Chamber offices to downtown Springfield. Any retained earnings realized through The Chamber’s one third ownership percentage will be reinvested in the community through our economic development efforts. Also, The Chamber’s occupancy will be less than current costs, while at the same time building equity, allowing for additional resources for both member benefits and economic development.