Middletown Moving Forward (MMF) is the 501(c)(3) non-profit community improvement corporation for Middletown focused on industrial and commercial development. To further its mission, Middletown Moving Forward is establishing a $5 million Reinvestment Fund to spur commercial and mixed use development in low-to-moderate income census tracts, particularly in Downtown Middletown and the Middletown Regional Airport Area. Along with providing patient capital to reinvest in Middletown, MMF strategically works with the City of Middletown to attract developers and connect them with technical assistance to successfully execute projects.
The Need for the MMF Reinvestment Fund
Middletown, Ohio, with its nearly 50,000 residents, is on the dawn of resurgence. Middletown is geographically positioned to take advantage of the converging Cincinnati-Dayton area. It is a community with character including a small, urban downtown with walkable streets adjacent to the Great Miami River. Yet, Middletown has significant blight and poverty. As a city, Middletown has removed over 300 abandoned, blighted homes since 2012, and has received another $1 million in demolition grants to fund further blight removal over the next two years in its neighborhoods.
It is time for additional strategic developments. Middletown lacks a critical mass of commercial and mixed-use developments in downtown and other low-to-moderate income areas to serve as comparable product when financial institutions evaluate financing of a project through conventional lending. Developments in these areas carry a higher financial risk and require patient and flexible investment to be successful. The Middletown Moving Forward Reinvestment Fund is designed to support the development pipeline by facilitating capital investment and providing developers with technical assistance to mitigate development risks and help make projects come to life.
The Impact for Middletown’s Future
The Middletown Moving Forward Reinvestment Fund will bring needed patient capital to development projects to advance the community’s economy and help establish the market. Having a reinvestment fund for Middletown projects will help distinguish Middletown from other areas in the region as a place to develop and invest. Under the Fund’s current policies and projections, if up to 20% of a project’s costs could be financed by the patient capital of the MMF Reinvestment Fund, investing at least half of the Fund in 5-10 years could leverage $12 million in private investment in low-to-moderate income areas of Middletown.
By implementing the Reinvestment Fund, the results for Middletown will be
- Prevention and reduction of blight.
- Attraction and retention of businesses to provide jobs, services, and economic opportunity to Middletown.
- Further enhancement of core economic development areas, particularly downtown Middletown and the Middletown Regional Airport Area.
- Growth in the city’s tax base, real estate values, and quality of life.
MMF Reinvestment Fund Strategy
The Fund will invest in projects with high probability of market success in Middletown’s low-to-moderate income areas that have above average market risk. Projects must meet the criteria for feasibility, quality and need. The capital will be used to fill gaps between traditionally underwritten loans, developer’s equity, and project costs. While the borrower must pay back the capital, the MMF Reinvestment Fund can be flexible and patient so that the project has time to succeed.
Supporting the MMF Reinvestment Fund
The Middletown Moving Forward Reinvestment Fund is looking for the following types of support to carry out its work:
- Tax deductible contributions and grants to support the Fund’s operations.
- Long-term investments, typically loans, in the reinvestment fund to provide the capital for investments. Terms of the investment dollars to the Fund are negotiable with investors.