From its humble beginnings as a grass roots organization in 1970, Indianapolis' public television and public radio station – WFYI – has grown into an important resource for the community. The community supports the station by participating enthusiastically in fundraising campaigns and events.
In 2002, WFYI launched a $15.3 million capital campaign with the goal to expand its facilities at 14th and Meridian St., which were quickly being outgrown. In 2006, in the midst of the capital campaign, a much larger facility became available just north of their building at 16th and Meridian. However, this new opportunity carried a much higher price tag, and WFYI was uncertain whether such an undertaking was realistic, despite the potential the new building would bring to the organization.
While WFYI was weighing the possibility of acquiring the larger facility, several key community partners (including Near North Development Corporation and Mansur Real Estate Services, Inc.) suggested that WFYI contact Ice Miller to explore the possibility of New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) financing for the project. The NMTC program generates a federal income tax incentive for providing financing to qualifying businesses in certain low-income community areas. Ice Miller had been involved in the NMTC program since its inception and had successfully closed numerous NMTC financings. After an initial meeting to discuss the NMTC program and its availability for this project, WFYI put Ice Miller to work.
WFYI expanded its vision for the entire project and increased its overall campaign goal to $20.2 million. The NMTC financing became a key component of the entire effort. By utilizing NMTC financing WFYI secured a significantly lower effective borrowing rate than would have otherwise been available through commercial sources. This approach made it possible for WFYI to purchase and renovate the larger building at a significant overall savings. In addition, by maximizing the value of the NMTC financing, WFYI will be left with a relatively small outstanding debt (compared to the building's value) after the 7-year NMTC loan matures.
WFYI's new building will house new all-digital studios, new editing and field equipment, and 1,200 sq. ft. of community meeting space. Unused space in the building will be leased as an income generator. With this larger space, WFYI can continue to provide new services and programming to the central Indiana community.