Simon Property Group Arranges a “One-Off” PACE Project in Ohio

In “Southern Park Mall to get $4M for energy efficiency,” Vindy.com reports that

The Western Reserve Port Authority has authorized its executive director to finalize terms of a project that will help Southern Park Mall acquire up to $4 million for roofing and lighting improvements….

The mall and Boardman Township are expected to complete the financing part of the project by the end of the year. Simon Properties would repay the money through assessments on its property taxes over about 15 years.

It requires the township to approve the creation of an Energy Special Improvement District, and that is expected to happen sometime in November, said Rose Ann DeLeon, executive director of the port authority.

Pam Ferguson, general manager of Southern Park Mall, said Simon Properties will use about $3 million to replace the roof over the common area of the mall with one that is better insulated. That work is likely to begin in the spring.

Additional funds will be used to upgrade interior lighting fixtures with more energy-efficient LED units.

The mall, which employs about 3,000 people plus seasonal workers, has made about $8 million worth of upgrades over the past three years, Ferguson said.

The 43-year-old mall also may get updated heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units in the coming years with PACE funds.

The Business Journal Daily (businessjournaldaily.com) also reported that Port Authority would issue PACE bonds to finance the project and would expand its own role in the community:

VIENNA TOWNSHIP, Ohio — The Western Reserve Port Authority advanced a plan Wednesday to provide financing for energy efficiency improvements at Southern Park Mall, and by early 2014 will move its economic development division from the Youngstown Business Incubator to larger offices just north of the central business district.

The port authority is in discussions with Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group, which owns the Boardman Township mall, to provide up to $4 million in financing for upgrades to the mall’s roof and a complete interior lighting retrofit, said Pam Ferguson, the mall’s general manager.

Members of the port authority’s board of directors voted at their monthly meeting to authorize Rose Ann DeLeon, the authority’s executive director, to execute a financing term sheet for the proposed energy efficiency improvement project at the mall.

The port authority would issue Property Assessment Clean Energy bonds to finance the improvements and the bonds would be repaid through assessments collected with the mall’s property taxes, DeLeon said. The PACE bonds allow the property owner to finance 100% of the costs of the improvements, with no out-of-pocket costs, and repay the bonds for a term up to the useful life of the improvements. Simon, which is based in Indianapolis, is considering a schedule of up to 15 years, she said.

The port authority would receive a 1.5% fee based on the value of the loan. Simon officials are still considering how much they want to borrow and the term of the loan…

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Subsequently, according to the attorney firm of Bricker & Eckler LLP (see http://www.developohio.com/catDisplay.aspx?id=6),

the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority approved a partnership with the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance that has the potential to “unleash more than $100 million in energy-related real estate investments in Hamilton County over the next five years,” WCPO.com reports. The new partnership, which already has “a pipeline of 20 projects involving 570,000 square feet of commercial real estate where $50 million in energy upgrades are being reviewed for potential financing,” will be “the region’s main vehicle” for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. PACE bonds are a financial tool used by property owners to fund energy efficiency improvements on their properties.

Read the full story…

Several of these articles also referenced a Bloomberg story from April that called PACE financing “sewer bonds”:

Sewer Bonds Now Saving Power as Simon Property Uses Pace

— which notes that “As banks become less eager to provide long-term capital for renewable energy, Pace bonds offer a way for property owners to fund projects and for investors to capitalize on clean power.”

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