Los Angeles, CA. Nixon Peabody recently represented multiple lenders in a collaboration between public and private sector stakeholders to finance the SEED School of Los Angeles County (SEED LA), the first charter college-prep boarding school in California.
Financing for the school, scheduled to open in Fall 2022, combined new markets tax credits (NMTCs) and additional loans totaling approximately $95 million. SEED LA will serve 400 at-risk and resilient students from South Los Angeles and the broader community, providing an intensive educational program designed to prepare them for academic and social success. The grades 9–12 curriculum focuses on career readiness in transportation, infrastructure, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), and the humanities, with students benefiting from mentorship opportunities to support their future careers in the infrastructure and transportation industries.
SEED LA is part of the first phase of the LA County and LA Metro Vermont Manchester Transit Priority Project, which will transform an underutilized site the size of two city blocks. Blighted since the city’s 1992 civil unrest, the land will be transformed into a lifeline for the surrounding underserved community.
“It was an honor to contribute to this once-in-a-generation project becoming a reality,” said Sonia Nayak, a partner in Nixon Peabody’s Community Development Finance group, who led the NMTC transaction for the Los Angeles Development Fund. “As partners to our clients and our communities, we seek opportunities that can make lasting impacts. SEED LA not only provides a life-changing opportunity to some of our city’s most vulnerable citizens by offering a safe haven and intensive academic curriculum, but it will also physically transform a long forgotten dirt lot into an interconnected community hub.”
When completed, the revitalization project will include 180 affordable housing units, community-serving retail, a transit plaza, and a Metro-operated Job and Innovation Center adjacent to SEED LA.
“We are very pleased to have worked with a true partnership of key players in public and private sectors on this complex financing,” said Gregory Doran, partner and leader of Nixon Peabody’s Community Development Finance practice, who represented a consortium of four community development financial institutions. “At the core, delivering a school that will provide a home for its students to thrive while creating a landmark of hope for the future was of paramount importance to all parties involved.”
In addition to Sonia Nayak and Greg Doran, the deal team included community development finance associates Garth Bostic and Cody Rogers and paralegal Natalie Nolasco. Additional support was provided by Environment and Land Use team co-leader Bryan LeRoy, who advised the development team on land use issues, while energy and environmental partner Alison Torbitt and associate Dana Stanton helped navigate environmental challenges.