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HARRISBURG, PA-The Commonwealth Financing Authority approved an aggregate of $24 million in matching-fund loans from its “Building PA” program for redevelopment projects in seven regions. The program provides mezzanine capital through regional fund managers for real estate developers that are committed to revitalizing existing buildings and infrastructure, particularly in small to mid-size communities. The Keystone Redevelopment Group in Bucks County obtained the largest loan, $6 million, for targeted investments in a variety of projects in the older boroughs, CBDs and manufacturing corridors. KRG’s primary target is to develop lab and research facilities for the life-science industry in order to encourage first- and second-stage business to relocate in the county.Fund managers in Berks, Lehigh and Philadelphia counties each received $4 million in loans. The Berks funding is largely aimed at the revitalization of abandoned commercial districts along the Reading, West Reading and Wyomissing corridor with preference given to mixed-use projects that include knowledge-based businesses and market-rate housing.The Lehigh Valley Industrial Park Inc. will use the loan for further development of the Bethlehem Commerce Center, which is the former Bethlehem Steel site. Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. will fund multi-tenant industrial, office, incubator and mixed-use projects in the Allegheny West, University City and East Falls sections. With $2 million, the Vartan Group Inc. will implement the Uptown Harrisburg Project, which consists of mixed-use conversions on the Sixth and Seventh street corridor. Real estate projects spanning from Pittsburgh to Erie obtained $2 million, managed by ResiComm Fund Management Inc., to fund a mix of commercial and residential projects in cities with fewer than 50,000 residents. The Community First Fund has also obtained $2 million to establish a fund to provide gap financing for commercial real estate projects in its 13-county Southeast and South Central market area. The focus is on downtown business districts in small cities and core communities.Building PA is a $150-million program that must be matched to provide $300 million in commercial real estate redevelopment, and it is one of 19 programs in Gov. Ed Rendell’s $2.8-billion economic stimulus package.”Building PA was created to be the final piece of funding that turns a potential project into a developing project,” Rendell says. “Mezzanine capital is crucial because hundreds of possible projects fail to get off the ground every year in our state when the final financial support on which a deal depends falls through, stranding Pennsylvania investors, developers and the communities their projects would revitalize.”

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