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Ridgeland firm educates lenders on details

Program goal to educate and provide networking opportunities between developers, development entities and lenders

The Ridgeland law firm Butler Snow recently hosted a seminar aimed at educating lenders, developers and investors and community representatives on the advantages of the New Markets Tax Credit Program.

The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program aids development in low-income communities by providing a tax credit for developers with projects in designated community development entities (CDEs), according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

“The goal of the (Butler Snow) program is to educate developers and investors and to provide networking opportunities between developers, community development entities and leverage lenders,” said Butler Snow attorney Jet Hollingsworth.

The seminar was hosted at the firm’s Ridgeland office and was simulcast to its Gulfport and Memphis offices.

Hollingsworth said the NMTC program can be combined with other governmental tax credit programs like those offered for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Historic Restoration Tax Credits and Gulf Opportunity Zone (Go Zone) bonds for additional benefits.

Mississippi Development Authority officials participated in the seminar to explain how the Mississippi Investment Tax Credit Program could also provide incentives for development projects.

Jet Hollingsworth

Jet Hollingsworth

Kim Smith

Kim Smith

“There are a lot of creative things that can be done with the program to add incentives for projects in low-income communities and to benefit developers…” Hollingsworth said. “This is another incentive to help get projects done that wouldn’t be able to make it in this economic climate.”

The seminar included a panel featuring government representatives, lenders, investors, CDE representatives and national and regional developers. Financial institutions also play a role in the NMTC by combining the tax credits with loan financing.

“We’re putting people together who have worked together and can share their experiences,” said Butler Snow attorney Kim Smith.

Butler Snow’s experience with the NMTC program includes acting as counsel in various transactions, representing CDEs, lenders or developers.

“From an attorney’s perspective, we always want to see projects getting done that otherwise would not,” Hollingsworth said.

The attorneys also noted that the credit program isn’t confined to rural areas, pointing to the restoration of the historic King Edward Hotel as a project that benefited from the NMTC program.

Hollingsworth did note that the program is under-utilized, particularly in the Southeast, and the Butler Snow seminars will help increase awareness.

Smith said attorneys with Butler Snow are representing clients with historic buildings and planned developments that will use the program, and Hollingsworth added that the program can be used to help fund development projects like healthcare facilities, universities or manufacturing facilities.

“The program is aimed at projects hamstrung by the current economy,” he said. “We want developers and investors to take a look at these incentives.”

Butler Snow attorneys will participate in other seminars in the Southeast and plan to offer more in-house seminars.

“This is a great opportunity to put people together and to network more than anything,” Smith said.

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