National Equity Fund Inc. (NEF) and Fifth Third Bank have closed on $25 million in opportunity zone investments to develop nearly 300 rental homes for low- and moderate-income families, as well as commercial space.
Developments supported by the NEF Fifth Third Opportunity Zones Fund include Willkommen, a multi-phase residential and commercial development in Cincinnati. When completed, apartments will be available for families with low-to-moderate incomes in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, and the new commercial space will serve entrepreneurs, with a focus on attracting minority-led businesses.
Harrison Circle in Kalamazoo, Michigan is also a mixed-income family development with an additional focus on businesses and jobs. It seeks to transform an industrial area known as the Rivers Edge District into a residential, cultural and commercial center of activity in walking distance to downtown Kalamazoo.
Lastly, Hope Manor Village is a housing project in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood focused on homeless veterans.
“Because of the opportunity zones initiative, we were able to expand our total community investment activity and help respond to this critical need,” said Catherine Cawthon, president of Fifth Third Community Development Corporation. “Good housing is really at the heart of our communities. That’s why we were so intent on using this new form of financing to help more families build financial security and help communities increase local economic activity and growth.”
The projects supported by the NEF Fifth Third Opportunity Zone Fund will be largely completed in 2021 and early 2022.
National Equity Fund Inc., based in Chicago, is a nonprofit investor in affordable housing and one of the nation’s largest syndicators of federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. Since 1987, NEF has invested $17 billion in 2,800 developments, supporting more than 187,000 affordable homes.
Fifth Third Bancorp is a financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio and the indirect parent company of Fifth Third Bank National Association. As of June 30, 2020, Fifth Third had $203 billion in assets. Fifth Third operates four main businesses: commercial banking, branch banking, consumer lending, and wealth and asset management.