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VOL. 132 | NO. 113 | Wednesday, June 7, 2017

2 Businesses Seek Inner City Loans From EDGE to Grow

By Patrick Lantrip

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Two local businesses that are looking to grow their footprint in traditionally underserved areas of Memphis are seeking forgivable loans for building improvements from the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County.

The requests go before EDGE’s finance committee on Wednesday, June 7.

HopeWorks, located at 3337 Summer Ave. in Highland Heights, and Orca Printing, located at 1808 September Ave. in Southeast Memphis have applied for ICED, or Inner City Economic Development, loans for $20,000 and $19,000, respectively, to help offset the costs of physical improvements to their locations.

HopeWorks, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to offer educational and spiritual development through job training and adult classes, is looking to convert a former Summer Avenue bank built in 1957 into a secondary facility that will serve the Binghamton and Highland Heights neighborhoods. Ron Wade, executive director at HopeWorks, applied for the loan.

“Ron Wade and I have been discussing a collaborative to offer training for Binghampton residents hoping to secure jobs at our planned commercial development at Tillman and Cooper,” Binghampton Development Corp. executive director Noah Gray said in a letter to EDGE. “We have also been discussing HopeWorks’ potential relocation to the Binghampton community. I strongly support this opportunity and am thrilled at the asset this would be for our neighborhood.”

HopeWorks is seeking $20,000 to offset the expected $44,000 in construction costs to complete renovations to the 13,000-square-foot former bank, which includes a full asbestos remediation and interior remodel for the soon-to-be training center.

According to the application, the Summer Avenue facility will employee 15 people and serve 60 people per week.

Orca Printing owner Christopher Brunner is applying for a $19,000 loan for exterior improvements, showroom construction and an HVAC upgrade for his September Avenue facility, which is near the intersection of Winchester and Cazassa roads.

In total, Orca’s renovations plan will cost $30,000 and include façade work and a building expansion.

“Brunner Printing has been a part of Memphis since 1932 started by my grandfather,” Brunner said in his application. “My goal is to improve not only myself and my company, but the surrounding community that we all live in and are a part of.”

Now branching off on his own, Brunner plans to specialize in large-format commercial printing and signage.

Improvements to the 5,400-square-foot building that was built in 1982 are all aimed to improve the customer experience, according to documents filed with EDGE. Once fully operational, Brunner plans on employing four people.

If approved for ICED loans, which are funded by personal property closing fees from EDGE’s more well-known payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, incentive programs, the companies will join other ICED loan recipients such as Camy’s, City and State, Rec Room, Champion’s Pharmacy and Herb Store, Metalworks and Knowledge Quest.

To date, EDGE has granted 40 ICED loans totaling a little more than $3 million, which helped sustain 175 jobs and $8.6 million in capital investments in struggling or up-and-coming neighborhoods.

PROPERTY SALES 91 293 13,051
MORTGAGES 58 168 8,171
BUILDING PERMITS 99 744 30,678
BANKRUPTCIES 34 156 6,220