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TX: Prairie Dog Pet Products to Launch Mfg Plant & HQ, Funded by $25M NMTC

11 Jan, 2016


Los Angeles-based National New Markets Fund, LLC has closed $24 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) funding for Prairie Dog Pet Products to launch a new Abilene manufacturing plant and corporate headquarters.

When it is completed in Spring 2016, the project will transform an unused 100,000 square-foot industrial building in Abilene’s city-owned Five Points Business Park into a state-of-the-art facility supporting 215 full-time employees. The new facility will be located in a Texas Enterprise Zone with a 25 percent poverty rate and income levels that average just 60 percent of the area median income.

“We are investing in this project because it will create high-quality jobs that put more than 215 paychecks in the hands of Abilene area residents,” said Deborah La Franchi, co-founder and president of National New Markets Fund. “We invest New Markets Tax Credit funding where and when it can help improve a community, and this project is poised to serve as a catalyst for Abilene’s economic and community revitalization.”

The Prairie Dog project has received overwhelming support from the State of Texas, the City of Abilene, the Development Corporation of Abilene (DCOA) and the Abilene Industrial Foundation.

“The new Prairie Dog manufacturing plant and headquarters will become an important anchor to grow employment and opportunity,” added Abilene Mayor Norm Archibald. "This project is a huge win for our community.”

Development Corporation of Abilene CEO Kent Sharp added, “Prairie Dog Pet Products is one of the larger manufacturing projects we have been able to recruit to Abilene. Without assistance from the NMTC program, Prairie Dog’s growth would have been hindered – leaving Abilene without these much needed jobs.”

Prairie Dog will use the $24 million NMTC allocation to acquire property, expand the existing facility and purchase equipment needed to manufacture high-quality “Made in USA” specialty pet treats, as well as conduct headquarters activities including corporate finance, customer support and sales. The project represents the fifth major investment in Texas for National New Markets Fund, which to date has invested more than $130 million in federal New Markets Tax Credit allocation across the Lone Star State.

“The $24 million NMTC allocation from National New Markets Fund is critical to finance our expansion, which we believe will be a very good thing for the City of Abilene,” explained Prairie Dog CEO Ira Goldfarb. “We believe in creating jobs, and the NMTC program is enabling us to create quality pet products sourced and made in the USA.”

JP Morgan Chase is investing more than $8 million in equity for the NMTC portion of the project.

“We are proud to help Prairie Dog Pet Products expand its operations in Abilene,” said Benjamin Glispie, vice president for Chase’s Community Development Banking business. “This is a great example of how the New Markets Tax Credit program can help a growing company with its capital needs and generate quality jobs.”

New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs) were established by Congress in 2000 to stimulate investment and economic growth in designated low-income communities. They raise investor capital and leverage public and private funding to provide borrowers, such as Prairie Dog Pet Products, with financing in the form of favorable rates and flexible below-market terms.

About National New Markets Fund

Deborah La Franchi of Strategic Development Solutions (SDS) and Belden Hull Daniels of Economic Innovation International, Inc. co-founded National New Markets Fund to invest in development projects that serve low income communities across the U.S. The Fund has received $427 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation from the U.S. Treasury’s CDFI (Community Development Financial Institutions) Fund, and invested in 30 projects to date. As a mission-driven investment fund, it seeks investments that create substantial economic and community development impacts. For more information, visit http://www.sdsgroup.com/funds/national-new-markets-fund.

About JP Morgan Chase

JP Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), founded in 2000 and headquartered in New York City, is one of the leading financial institutions in the United States; Chase is a worldwide leader in investment banking, commercial banking, asset management, and financial services. The bank currently operates in over 60 countries and has more than $2.4 trillion in assets. For more information, visit https://www.jpmorganchase.com/.

About Prairie Dog Pet Products

Prairie Dog Pet Products is a manufacturer of quality pet products distributed in the United States and globally. Founded in 2007 by Ira and Claudia Goldfarb, the company is focused on developing innovative pet treats manufactured in the United States to the highest quality standards from domestically-sourced raw materials. More information is available at http://www.prairiedogpetproducts.com/.

About Development Corporation of Abilene (DCOA)

In 1989, Abilene, Texas was the first city in Texas to adopt a ½ cent sales tax for economic development. Shortly thereafter, the City Council of Abilene authorized the creation of the Development Corporation of Abilene to administer the tax for economic development. The DCOA endeavors to make Abilene competitive in attracting businesses and industries that create sustainable jobs, while also retaining local jobs by providing assistance to existing and emerging businesses.

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