Washington, DC’s Historic Howard Theatre Completes $29M Renovation

Nixon Peabody Provided Legal Counsel in the Public & Private Financing Deal

April 16, 2012 // Franchising.com // Washington, DC. - It played a role in launching the careers of Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye, and the Supremes. Howard Theatre, the nation’s oldest African American theater, has reopened its doors after a major two-year renovation project, made possible by a $29 million public and private financing deal.

Built in 1910 in Washington’s Shaw neighborhood, known as “Black Broadway,” the historic renovation focused on both interior and exterior work, including special efforts to reconstruct the theater’s original façade, complete with its 17 original windows.

Howard Theatre Restoration Inc. and the Ellis Development Group used a creative combination of financing resources to fund the project, including New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC), Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits (HTC), Tax Increment Financing (TIF), a Planning and Economic Development grant, and traditional equity investments, as well as contributions from individual donors.

“The Howard holds a tremendous place in the history of this community and our country,” Jennifer Westerbeck, Assistant Vice President, Historic & New Markets Investments, U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation. “We are proud to have been a part of this landmark renovation.”

“This was a complex, multi-sourced deal, but one that resulted in a major milestone in the revival of an architectural landmark,” said Scott D. Sergio, Nixon Peabody Tax Credit Finance & Syndication partner, who advised U.S. Bancorp in the deal. “The reopening of the Howard clearly illustrates the commercial benefits to the community of preserving and rehabilitating our historical past.”

Attorneys in Nixon Peabody’s Syndication practice are among the nation’s foremost legal authorities in transactions involving the low-income housing tax credit, the new markets tax credit, and the historic rehabilitation tax credit. The credits play an important role in the financing and development of affordable housing and historic preservation projects, as well as commercial and mixed-use real estate in low-income communities.


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