Cincinnati Development Fund (CDF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit lending institution that fills a gap not covered by traditional lenders. CDF provides funding for real estate development in under-served markets in the Greater Cincinnati area. They also offer facilities and equipment funding for nonprofit organizations in our region. CDF’s mission is to drive community revitalization by providing capital access and technical assistance.
CDF continues to provide development services to support several large projects that are top priorities of the Cincinnati Fresh Food Task Force, a committee appointed by the City of Cincinnati. These include Apple Street Market, an emerging healthy foods project in the low-income LSA neighborhood of Northside; and Midpointe Crossing, a mixed-use development that includes a 60,000 to 80,000-square-foot supermarket in the food desert neighborhood of Bond Hill. Below are highlights from CDF loans representing $2.2 million in financing, including $1 million in HFFI-FA award deployment and $1.2 million in CDF direct lending:
Avondale Grocery: Will be developed in 2016 in the Avondale Town Center, a struggling, suburban-style retail strip that is being transformed into a pedestrian-oriented neighborhood center and a destination for quality retail shopping. Plans include adding a new grocery store, a neighborhood priority, having lacked a full-service grocery since Aldi left the neighborhood in 2008. The grocery is part of a larger mixed-use development that will bring other important resources, including a pharmacy, to the community. The comprehensive plan includes a 17,600 sq. ft. retail/office building, a community park and 150 units of mixed-income housing. Avondale grocery will incorporate hiring and management practices recommended by UpLift Solutions, a nonprofit expert in urban groceries. The model prioritizes hiring employees from the community where the supermarket will be located and whose members it will serve. The $300,000 loan through Healthy Food Fund (HFFI-FA) details predevelopment costs. CDF anticipates supporting the development with its New Markets Tax Credit allocation as well.
Findlay Market: Located in a low-income neighborhood and is home to approximately two dozen permanent food vendors who rent space to sell meat, fish, poultry, produce, cheese flowers and ethnic foods and draws over 1 million visitors a year. A loan of $700,000 - through Midwest Lenders Alliance, a partnership between IFF and Cincinnati Development Fund made possible, in part, through a $1.4 million grant from the JP Morgan Chase Bank/Foundation – allowed for the restoration of the kitchen, a vacant, blighted building to higher use to benefit residents and visitors alike. The kitchen enables growth of small food-related businesses, nurtures job growth, brings locally grown and manufactured food to a wider audience in Cincinnati. The kitchen is available for event rental by community groups and cooking demonstrations by the Findlay Market merchants. The project provides local food entrepreneurs with commercial-grade food preparation equipment and storage space meeting health department regulations, the main barrier to small operators. A feasibility study showed strong demand from potential food entrepreneurs and buyers as well as ancillary partners such as culinary training programs, chambers of commerce and community development organizations. This project created 3 new jobs while providing growth opportunities for culinary entrepreneurs. Synergies were created with Findlay Market as many food entrepreneurs buy ingredients from the market.
Epicurean Mercantile Co.: The development will provide a 5,700-square-foot compact urban fresh food full-service grocery market with broader choices, located in an area adjacent to two food desert tracts. This healthy foods project is part of a $24 million revitalization adjacent to the historic landmark Findlay Market. Epicurean Mercantile Co., which will be the first fresh food retailer with expanded hours in this census tract, is viewed as a welcome extension to the existing Findlay Market that will serve the needs of current low-income residents. The operators have begun working with the Community Council and local job training agencies to ensure their ability to hire qualified workers from the neighborhood. The loan of $234,000 through Cincinnati Healthy Food Fund (HFFI-FA) will be used for property acquisition and stabilization. CDF anticipates providing a loan to the operator as well.
The Community Market: Located in the Lower Price Hill area, this Market has received a loan of $642,000 through the Cincinnati Healthy Food Fund (HFFI-FA) for renovation as a larger plan to rejuvenate the low-income Lower Price Hill neighborhood. The project includes renovation and adaptive reuse of five buildings, including a church building, the former rectory and a school building built in 1847. Currently, The Community Market is the only place in Lower Price Hill where residents can attain healthy food for their families. The primary tenants of the facilities will be Education Matters and Community Matters. Education Matters provides programming to re-engage adults in education at any level, including English for Speakers of Other Languages, GED classes and a College Bridge program to support residents seeking a college education. Community Matters is engaged with non-educational activities, including the operation of the Community Market, which serves local residents and students of Education Matters. With this renovation, the Community Market became a Client Choice Food Pantry with more healthy food options. Client Choice pantries are conceptually similar to grocery stores: a full array of available goods is displayed and clients browse and “shop” for what they want and need.
Source of money: HFFI CDFI-Financial Assistance Program; Fiscal year(s): 2012