FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., March 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Located just north of downtown St. Louis resides the Vaughn Residences at Murphy Park, a mixed-income community consisting of 132 market-rate apartments; 56 tax credit rent-restricted apartments; and 223 apartments set aside as public housing. The redevelopment of the property was funded in part by the CRA Qualified Investment Fund CRA Shares (Ticker: CRAIX), a community development bond fund. Murphy Park is on the site of the former Vaughn Towers public housing project, which was built in 1957 to house African-Americans relocating from other segregated communities. It was named for the African-American attorney who won a Supreme Court decision overturning the use of racial restrictions on property ownership. By the mid-1980s, the property was severely distressed and surrounded by blight. Developer McCormack Baron Salazar joined forces with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the St. Louis Housing Authority, and residents of Vaughn to create a new model for inner-city housing – one that combined public housing for very low-income people, affordable housing, and market-rate apartments.
Today, Murphy Park offers affordable, low-rise housing with individual entryways and porches, private yards, high-quality interiors, tot lots, green space, and secured parking. Additionally, to strengthen the neighborhood and support the family and children living there, a neighborhood/private sector partnership led by the non-profit, Urban Strategies, Inc., provides supportive services such as day care, job training, youth services, recreational opportunities and health services. The area is pedestrian-friendly and provides its residents with a sense of community.
"Murphy Park was one of the first projects of its kind in the country, serving as a model for how to remove distressed public housing projects and replace them with high-quality, livable places. Murphy Park, which inspired HUD's HOPE VI program, is a successful demonstration of how our urban areas can be revitalized into vibrant, stable, safe places for residents," said Vincent Bennett, Chief Operating Officer of McCormack Baron Salazar. "The redevelopment has had a significant impact on the entire neighborhood."
In revitalizing the neighborhood, Richard Baron, CEO of McCormack Baron Salazar realized that schools would also require major improvements and, together with Urban Strategies, brought together the St. Louis Public Schools, private sector, and neighborhood to raise $4 million to reinvigorate the local Jefferson Elementary School. It now offers new computers, after-school arts programs, fiber optic infrastructure, professional development programs, and a computer and job-training center for parents. It has become one of the best elementary schools in the district.
The bond that helped finance the project was a Ginnie Mae Project Loan, purchased in part by the CRA Qualified Investment Fund, on behalf of one of its shareholders, First Bank, headquartered in Creve Coeur, Missouri. The Fund was launched in 1999 as a vehicle to help banks meet the requirements of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The CRA, created in 1977, mandates that banks make capital available to the low- and moderate-income communities which they serve. First Bank has been a shareholder in the Fund since 2005 and has offices in Missouri, California, Florida, and Illinois.
"First Bank is committed to serving the communities in which we operate," said Susan Montoya, First Bank's Vice President and Corporate CRA Officer. "We are thrilled to see our investment support a wonderful project like Murphy Park and its positive contribution to the St. Louis community."
"We are always looking for innovative investments that deliver multiple benefits to a community in need," said Barbara VanScoy, senior portfolio manager at Community Capital Management. "The revitalization of the neighborhood, schools and social services offered will make a dramatic difference in the lives of residents living at Murphy Park and the surrounding community."
About Community Capital Management, Inc. and the CRA Qualified Investment Fund Community Capital Management, Inc. is a Fort Lauderdale-based SEC-registered investment adviser. The firm was founded in 1998 to provide fixed income investment services to institutional investors. Its clients include public funds, foundations, financial institutions, faith-based investors, and mission-related investors. The CRA Qualified Investment Fund was launched in 1999 and has grown to include investments from more than 300 banks/thrifts and other types of investors interested in its impact investing strategy. Community Capital Management manages over $1 billion in assets and offers institutional investors its investment strategy via a separate account or a mutual fund. For more information, please visit www.ccmfixedincome.com.
Investing involves risk including the loss of principal. Bonds and bond funds are subject to interest rate risk and will decline in value as interest rates rise. The Fund is non-diversified. Carefully consider the risks, investment objectives, charges and expenses of the Fund before investing. The prospectus contains this and other important information. Call 866-202-3573 for a prospectus. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing. As of 1/31/12, this investment represents 0.02% of the fund's assets. The CRA Qualified Investment Fund is distributed by SEI Investments Distribution Co. (SIDCO) which is not affiliated with Community Capital Management or any other affiliate.
About McCormack Baron Salazar McCormack Baron Salazar is the nation's leading for-profit developer of economically integrated urban neighborhoods. Since its inception in 1973, the firm has developed over 16,000 units of housing in 36 urban markets totalling more than $2.4 billion in development investment. The firm's mission is to rebuild neighborhoods in central cities across the United States. McCormack Baron Salazar headquarters are located in St. Louis, Missouri, with offices in Los Angeles and Memphis. For more information, please visit www.mccormackbaron.com.
About First Bank First Banks, Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates offer a vast portfolio of products and services for both individuals and businesses. In our fourth generation of family ownership, First Banks, Inc. now serves customers in 149 locations and has $6.78 billion in assets. For more information, please visit www.firstbanks.com.