Mascoma Offers NCC Support

Mascoma Community Development is pleased to announce the successful closing of $5 million in New Markets Tax Credit financing to support the National Comedy Center’s $25.7 million project to develop an interactive and experiential national attraction and cultural institution that will celebrate the art of comedy.

The project embodies Lucille Ball’s vision to use comedy as an economic development tool to revitalize her hometown of Jamestown. The National Comedy Center is redeveloping an art-deco building that formerly served as the city’s train station with a connector to an adjacent public utility building to create a 35,000-square-foot entertainment facility, which will have nine main zones with 70 attractions, featuring hologram technology.

“The National Comedy Center is a one-of-a-kind cultural institution. We’re proud to be investing in this exciting expansion of Jamestown’s tourism and entertainment economy, and ensuring valuable employment opportunities for the residents in Chautauqua County,” said Dick Jennings, managing director of Mascoma Community Development.

The project is located in a severely distressed census tract where unemployment measured 24.1 percent in the 2010 census, and within an Appalachian Regional Commission-designated distressed county. The project is expected to create 27 new permanent full-time equivalent jobs and approximately 140 temporary construction jobs. Additionally, the project is expected to generate more than $23 million of annual economic impact for the city of Jamestown and the surrounding counties.

Mascoma Community Development is a community development entity established by Mascoma Savings Bank to enhance, strengthen and revitalize low-income communities through the creation of quality jobs and community services, and to stimulate economic opportunities for low-income residents throughout the northeast United States, especially with investment in catalytic downtown redevelopment or business expansion projects.

“U.S. Bank is pleased to have the opportunity to provide capital to this project and extend a bright future for the National Comedy Center,” said Jennifer Westerbeck, assistant vice president of U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation.

U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, a subsidiary of U.S. Bank, was the New Markets Tax Credit investor, and Empire State New Market Corporation and Empower Reinvestment Fund LLC were additional lending partners to the project, with a total of $24 million in New Markets Tax Credit allocation provided. The overall $50 million project is funded by public-private partnership and has been awarded approximately $9 million from New York state, Empire State Development and the I Love NY tourism campaign. Design of the immersive, interactive visitor experience has been provided by renowned creative firm Jack Rouse Associates and Cortina Productions.

“We’re overjoyed that our members’ planning, hard work, and vision for the center’s future is coming true,” said Tom Benson, National Comedy Center chairman. “We couldn’t have done it without the support of our outstanding board members, public and private stakeholders and many funding partners.” Currently under construction, the new facility is targeted to soft open in spring 2018.

Mascoma Community Development was awarded New Markets Tax Credit allocation from the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, a branch of the U.S. Treasury Department. Using its tax credit allocation, Mascoma seeks to provide low-cost, flexible financing to businesses throughout rural New Hampshire, New York, Maine and Vermont.