Border Communities Capital Company, LLC (BCCC), an affiliated entity of Chelsea Investment Corporation (Chelsea), has closed a $7.76 million loan financed through the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program with One World Beef (OWB) for the acquisition and rehabilitation of the former National Beef processing plant located in Imperial County in the City of Brawley, Calif. The project includes a 337,000-square-foot beef processing facility and is located on approximately 100 acres of land.
Financing for the project involved a consortium of lenders and equity investors. Cityscape Capital Group, LLC provided an additional $6.6 million of NMTC loans and JPMorgan Chase was the equity investor for the full NMTC allocation. In a strong show of local support, the County of Imperial and the Imperial Irrigation District each provided $2.5 million loans. Clearinghouse Community Development Financial Institution and Bank of Southern California each provided $5 million loans.
One World Beef owner/operator Eric Brandt is a third-generation Imperial Valley cattle feeder and veteran beef marketer who bucked industry trends in the early 1990s by eliminating the use of hormones. Brandt Beef is currently the only beef producer to receive the prestigious Master Chefs’ Institute Seal of Excellence for its commitment to producing a superior culinary product.
“The significance of this deal to the community cannot be overstated,” said Jerry Hannon, Chelsea’s Chief Financial Officer. “When the beef processing plant was closed by the prior owner in April 2014, it had a tremendous negative impact on the County of Imperial, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation at 23.7% as of June 2016.”
With a comprehensive renovation now underway, OWB will initially hire approximately 200 people, growing to approximately 600 people as the facility ramps up production over a four-year period.
“We are overjoyed to have the opportunity to re-fire the shuttered beef plant in Brawley and extremely grateful to Border Communities Capital for helping us realize our goal,” said Eric Brandt, OWB chief executive officer. “Bringing beef processing back to the Imperial Valley will have a tremendous positive economic impact on the City of Brawley and surrounding areas and we’re thrilled to be able to act in concert with Border Communities Capital and our other lenders to help reinvigorate the area.”
“It is with great excitement that the City of Brawley welcomes One World Beef,” said Brawley Mayor Don Wharton. “The positive impact that the re-opening of the beef plant extends beyond the city limits. Job creation on this level does not happen often, therefore the significance of this industry returning to Brawley is immeasurable.”
Headquartered in San Diego, BCCC provides below market-rate financing to projects that create jobs, spur development, enhance infrastructure, and create services and opportunities for underserved communities and people located near the United States-Mexico border. Financing products offered include equity equivalent loans and a mixture of development, construction and permanent loans.
BCCC’s Advisory Board member and longtime resident of Brawley, Tom DuBose added, “Imperial County’s largest agricultural commodity is cattle. We are grateful to the Brandt family for stepping up to restore this important job-generator to the community.”