Andrew Potts is a partner in the firm’s Community Development Finance practice where he structures and closes financing for historic preservation and other community-based development projects. He works with a diverse range of clients in a practice centered on the use of federal and state historic tax credits (HTCs), new markets tax credits (NMTCs), HUD programs, grants and conventional finance.
I’ve always worked on the financing of community revitalization projects, like funding for the rehab of historic buildings and other developments in older parts of town, capitalizing community-based enterprises or paying for energy retrofitting and installation of onsite renewables. When I first started my practice, the U.S. capital markets considered these projects outliers. Today, they’re increasingly central to communities, developers and investors alike, but most still involve multiple financing sources and transaction participants. I simplify the complexities as much as possible and get the financing closed in a manner that paves the way for smooth completion, operations and, ultimately, unwind.
Experience teaches that resilience communities tend to be dense, walkable, mixed-income, mixed use and offer a range of social and cultural institutions. Helping to finance these communities means working with an equally diverse range of client types, asset classes and business models. My clients include for-profit and nonprofit developers, building lessors and lessees, as well as debt and equity providers and syndicators. I’ve also represented units of state and local government in exploring the opportunities and limitations of tax credit finance. My projects include both affordable and market-rate housing, hotels, community enterprises, theaters, cultural centers, higher education, medical and social services uses, office, retail and industrial developments.
Achieving community revitalization at scale means mainstreaming sustainable development practices into existing tax, land use and financing systems. I was an active advisor on the Historic Tax Credit aspects of the landmark 2008 housing bill enacted by Congress, for which I was awarded the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s John H. Chafee Trustees Award for Outstanding Achievement in Public Policy. I was among those who worked with HUD to secure a new policy facilitating the use of FHA mortgage insurance on syndicated HTC projects, and I served as Vice President of the Historic Tax Credit Coalition. More recently, I co-authored the Pocantico Call to Action on Climate Impacts and Cultural Heritage and served on the team that helped incorporate cultural heritage into the new United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and 2016–2036 New Urban Agenda.
For years, sustainability has been a key lens through which development has been viewed. What’s changing is that communities are increasingly emphasizing the social dimensions of sustainability. At the same time, climate change and other forces are putting a premium on resilience and disaster risk reduction—factors the real estate industry will increasingly internalize as a result of consumer preference, underwriting demands and public incentives. Cultural resources will play a key role in this shifting paradigm, so I expect to see historic preservation-based community revitalization and for social entrepreneurship strategies to grow in importance. In light of shifting priorities at the federal level, much of this action will be led by the private and non-governmental sectors with support from state and local government levels—at least, for the foreseeable future.
Artsy | October 13, 2017
Washington DC tax credit finance and syndication partner Andrew Potts, a former executive director of the United States National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, is quoted in this article about the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from UNESCO, the United Nation’s cultural organization, by the end of this year.
Indiana University, J.D.
Indiana University, B.A.
District of Columbia
Andrew is a member of the Chicago and American bar associations (Affordable Housing and Real Property Section).