The economic development organization MoFi recently arranged federal credits from the New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) program for three Treasure Valley projects during the first quarter of 2022. The Idaho Business Review (IBR) previously covered the first project, to revitalize the historic Tiner Building in Downtown Boise. The other two projects support new facilities for Montana Timber Products of Caldwell and Advanced Sign and Decalcomania in Meridian.
“We were super excited to have three projects all happen so close to one another, all in the same valley,” Dave Glaser, MoFi president, told the IBR. “Both companies are creating accessible jobs for the workforce, and they are also companies that are really good to their employees. They’re in a low-income area. They’re both locally owned and operated. And so those are the kinds of businesses we love to put NMTC (credits) to work in.”
Advanced Sign and Decalcomania manufacture dimensional lettering signs in a variety of materials; create street, parking lot and other types of signs, and create car and wall graphic stickers. Both companies are owned and operated by Spencer Hill, who worked in the businesses for 18 years before purchasing them several years ago.
Hill’s operation has outgrown its current facility. Rising construction costs and a lack of cash put land and a new building out of reach. The NMTC program provided the funds that enabled a new $12 million facility to go forward.
The new home for Advanced Sign and Decalcomania will have 62,500 square feet. Hill currently employs 85 people. The expansion will enable him to hire 50 more employees, according to Glaser.
“I enjoyed working with MoFi,” Hill told the IBR. “They were great. It’s an awesome program, though it is extremely complex (to apply).”
Montana Timber Products was founded by John Giuliani in Deer Lodge, Montana, in 2010 and relocated to Boise in 2013, according to general manager Michael Hoag. The company today is a large national supplier of specialized rustic wood building materials and siding for the construction industry.
“We’ve outgrown our facility; we started looking and found that it was hard to find commercial facilities that met our needs,” Hoag said. The company currently employs around 60 people and works out of 18,000 square feet, but they are boxed in by other businesses and can’t expand.
“Steve Jenkins, the economic development director for the City of Caldwell, helped us find a site to build a new facility with 35,000 feet,” Hoag explained. “This will allow us to employ 20 to 30 new employees.”
The new facility project had its financing in place before the pandemic, but rising costs after COVID-19 arrived created an equity gap. The gap will now be filled by NMTC financing arranged through MoFi. According to Hoag, First Interstate Bank also provided financing for the $7.5 million project.
“We’ve known Montana Timber for a lot longer because they started in Montana and moved to Caldwell,” Glaser remarked. “We made them a loan 12 years ago to start. And now they’re in Caldwell and they’re expanding like crazy and doing great things.”
The NMTC program was enacted in 2000 as part of a bipartisan effort to spur private investment and economic growth in low-income and rural communities that lack access to the capital needed to support businesses, create jobs and sustain healthy economies. The credits are awarded annually through a competitive process. The program is currently set to expire in 2025, however, bipartisan legislation is currently under review that would make the program a permanent part of the tax code.
“I’d like to make a shout out,” Glaser said, “to both U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo and U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson for their longtime support of the NMTC program. It’s definitely working in Idaho.”
MoFi, formerly the Montana Community Development Corporation, is a federally certified community development financial institution. The organization provides financing and consulting to entrepreneurs and small business owners across the Northern Rockies, as well as affordable housing solutions.
MoFi arranges NMTC financing for qualified projects in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, eastern Washington and eastern Oregon. In addition to the three new projects in Treasure Valley, MoFi has supported 13 other projects across Idaho in the last decade, including a new mixed-use development in downtown Twin Falls, a new youth center for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe in Worley and new headquarters for Fresca Mexican Foods and Capitol Distributing Inc., both in Caldwell.s