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Spartanburg projects get $21.5M

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Two projects in Spartanburg have received a total of $21.5 million in new markets tax credits from the Innovate Fund, managed by Tax Advantage Group and Greenville Local Development Corp. The combined funds will support the creation of 265 direct jobs and provide vital community services to these Appalachian Regional Commission distressed areas of Spartanburg County.

The Franklin School, an early childhood education center in the Northside community of Spartanburg, received a $10 million allocation, and Highland Baking Co., a wholesale bread baking company, received an $11.5 million allocation for production expansion, according to a news release.

The Franklin School

The $10.3 million project is the first major development of the Northside Initiative, a comprehensive effort led by Northside Development Group, or NDG, to transform a 400-acre, once blighted and forgotten neighborhood. Located in an area with 49.5% poverty and 32.1% median family income, the Franklin School, operated by Spartanburg County First Steps, will serve approximately 175 children ages 6 weeks through 5 years in a full-day, full-year program. Enrollment priority will be given to Northside residents and children zoned for Cleveland Academy, the local elementary school, of which 100% of students are eligible for the National School Lunch Program. Also located in a Federal Medically Underserved Area, the Franklin School will have an office for health care providers to meet with students and administer a variety of medical services, the release said.

"NDG and its many community partners have, and continue to work toward, a shared vision of creating a vibrant cradle-to-career education pipeline, affordable housing options, and a healthy environment that supports all stages of life, regardless of income," said Bill Barnet, NDG CEO and board Chairman, in the release.

The Franklin School will catalyze nearly $65 million of additional follow-on private sector investments to create a community center, 90-units of mixed-income housing and additional health care services in the neighborhood, according to the release.

Highland Baking Co.

Highland Baking Co. has two production facilities, one located just outside of Chicago and one on Asheville Highway in Spartanburg, which opened in 2012 and quickly reached its production and employment capacities, the release said. The company employs 210 full-time workers in Spartanburg and operates two production lines for three shifts each day, maxing out its available cold storage space. The Innovate Fund's investment will pay for an expansion of the company’s cold storage space, allowing it to continue its fast-paced growth by adding a third production line. This will produce 170 new direct jobs in a community with 47% poverty and 17.4% unemployment.

"We are excited about The Innovate Fund's investment in this project, which will afford us the continued ability to grow and further solidify our commitment to the community of Spartanburg,” said Stu Rosen, CEO of Highland Baking Co., in the release.

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