353 Redevelopment Group Looking to City for Debt Help - The Missourian: Local News

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353 Redevelopment Group Looking to City for Debt Help

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Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 8:00 am

The Washington 353 Redevelopment Corporation is looking to refinance some debt.

Darren Lamb, Washington economic development director, told the city council during the Feb. 24 administration/operations meeting that the 353 Redevelopment Corporation has asked the city to see it if were possible to take out another loan — the group already has three with the city. The new loan would help pay down a loan with the Bank of Washington.

Lamb said the 353 group was asking the city if a potential deal was possible.

“They have asked if they could borrow from the city and go ahead and drive down that letter of credit with the bank,” Lamb said.

The council instructed Lamb and the staff to explore the situation and see if a good deal could be made.

Lamb said the 353 Redevelopment Corporation owes about $780,000 on the loan with the Bank of Washington. With the interest rate in the 3- to 4-percent range, Lamb said the 353 group is paying nearly $23,000 annually on interest alone to the bank.

The 353 Redevelopment Corporation’s loan with the Bank of Washington is the only line of credit the group has that’s not with the city. The other three lines of credit are all low-interest loans from the city.

“Our loans to them have an interest rate that’s the same rate as we borrow money,” City Administrator Jim Briggs said. “Right now it’s at 0.2, 0.25 or something like that. It’s not a large amount we get from them.”

Before the city can loan out the money, Briggs said it needs to make sure the land the 353 Redevelopment Corporation owns has sufficient value.

“We have to make sure the land can support the debt,” Briggs said.

Briggs said, just like in the past, one way the 353 Redevelopment Corporation would pay off its debts is by using money gained from the sale of land to repay its debts.

Briggs and Lamb were instructed to prepare an information packet for a later council meeting. The decision on whether or not to loan money will be made at a later meeting.

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