Mascoma Community Development (MCD) closed on $18 million in New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) allocation to finance the acquisition and new construction of a 25,800 square-foot automobile dealership, training center, and community meeting space available at no cost to nonprofit organizations in Concord, New Hampshire. The facility will allow Grapp, Inc. (Grappone), a woman-owned enterprise, to provide commercial goods and services to a low-income community, which is expected to generate significant economic output and serve as a catalyst for further improvements to and revitalization of the Manchester Street corridor.
“The Grappone project represents new construction located in a rural, non-metropolitan community. We expect that this project may catalyze further improvements to and revitalization of the Manchester Street corridor in Concord. MCD is pleased to provide funding to a well-known, family-owned, philanthropic company that partners with a variety of community organizations, such as local schools and community colleges, and provides skills training and advancement opportunities for current and future employees,” states Tad Atwell, Chief Operating Officer of MCD.
MCD is a Community Development Entity established by Mascoma Bank which creates impactful jobs in highly distressed, low-income rural and minor-urban communities. MCD also targets downtown redevelopment projects which help revitalize communities and provide necessary services to low-income community members.
Grappone will relocate their current Mazda dealership in Bow to Concord, where a newly-built facility will include an approximately 3,000 SF multi-purpose training center to support and expand its employee and community development programs. Grappone supports team member growth through tuition reimbursement programs, low-interest loan programs, and in-house technical training programs and certifications. For example, the facility will be home to “Leadership Grappone 2.0,” an employee development program that offers workshops on leadership development, communication, and problem-solving skills, and has graduated 50 team members with opportunities for promotion.
The training center will support community-focused initiatives by providing meeting space at no cost for more than a dozen local nonprofits organizations like Riverbend Community Mental Health, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Youth Summit, NH Children’s Trust, and the Center for Family Enterprise. The project will also allow Grappone to expand partnerships within the community like its “Take the Wheel” program, which provides low- to moderate-income families with financial counseling and access to low-interest rate auto loans. Additional space at the facility will accommodate automotive technical training programs with Concord High School’s Regional Technical Center and Nashua Community College, offering apprenticeship, shadowing, and mentoring opportunities to middle and high school students from more than 30 surrounding public schools.
Ten permanent full-time equivalent positions will be retained with the relocation of the Grappone’s current Mazda facility, plus the new facility is projected to create new FTE jobs for thirty-five people upon completion. It is estimated that 30 (68%) of the total jobs at the facility will be available to low-income persons. The project is estimated to provide high-quality automotive services and vehicle sales to more than 2,500 people annually and the relocation of the Mazda facility will allow for expansion of Grappone’s Ford dealership in Bow, NH, catalyzing further job creation and economic impact.
Grappone was founded in 1924 by Italian immigrants Rocco and Emmanuella Grappone, and their great-granddaughter Amanda (Grappone) Osmer owns 38% of Grappone Automotive Group, serves as one of five directors of the company, and is the principal of this project. Grappone currently operates five new car franchises in Bow. Construction of the new facility is expected to begin in September 2022 with anticipated completion by December 2023.
Ms. Osmer shares, “This project is the realization of twenty-five years of learning in the automotive sector for me. Growing up in the business, I had ideas about how we could make doing business with Grappone even better. The focus of our team has put into our company culture and mission is a point of real pride for me, and the completion of the Mazda building and training center will help bring our team’s service even further into the communities we serve.”
U.S. Bank and Mascoma Bank are investing New Markets Tax Credits equity to help finance this project.
“U.S. Bank believes everyone deserves an opportunity to achieve financial stability and supports projects that make a difference in local communities,” says Thomas Oldenburg, Business Development Officer with U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC), the tax credit and community investment subsidiary of U.S. Bank. “This project in Concord will do just that. It has so many components – it will bring new jobs, provide job training for employees and the community and apprenticeship opportunities for local students – supporting not only the individuals who work here and their families, but benefitting the entire community.”
MCD is pleased to report that this project has also made possible MCD’s grant of $90,000 to its CDFI partner Regional Economic Development Center (REDC), headquartered in Raymond, NH. REDC is the statewide hub for Kiva, which helps borrowers access up to $15,000 in capital via crowdfunding. MCD’s support will allow REDC to expand this new program, offering more New Hampshire companies the chance to start and grow. MCD takes great pride in supporting organizations and programs that strengthen the communities they serve. MCD commends the important work of REDC, and all CDFIs, and is pleased to support their efforts with this grant.