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June 29, 2012
HOLYOKE, Mass., June 29 -- $89 Million Facility Brings Jobs to Depressed Community
Building America CDE, Inc. has allocated $5.6 million in New Markets Tax Credits for construction of the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke, Massachusetts, New England's first high-performance computing facility.
The innovative center is expected to boost Massachusetts' ability to attract and retain top-notch scientists, obtain federal and private funding for scientific research, and fuel the state's innovation economy. The center is also expected to attract public and private investment to Holyoke, an economically distressed city that is located 90 miles west of Boston.
The $89 million facility is being built using 100% union labor, generating approximately 535 union construction jobs for the area. The state has targeted the city for a major redevelopment effort. Building America CDE is a subsidiary of the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT).
"We are very excited to be involved in developing this world-class computing center, which will benefit the local community, greater Holyoke, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," said Eric W. Price, CEO of Building America and Executive Vice President of the HIT. "Not only will it have a positive impact on employment, economic growth, and the environment, but it will also help Massachusetts maintain its position as a national leader in scientific research and innovation."
The 90,300-square-foot center is designed to house a cluster of powerful computers that will provide state-of-the-art computational capability to support the research needs of five of the state's most research-intensive universities - Boston University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, and the University of Massachusetts - in partnership with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, EMC Corporation, and Cisco Systems Inc.
Even though it is still under construction, the new center is already transforming technology education in Holyoke. For example, Holyoke Community College has decided to incorporate technology literacy into its core curriculum. The center's design also includes a public meeting space and classrooms dedicated to community-based outreach with a focus on IT community education and job training.
Part of the computing center's collaborative agenda is research on clean energy and the environment as well as showcasing energy-efficient computing and green building design. Located on an urban Brownfield site in downtown Holyoke and designed to be LEED-certified, the new center will take advantage of the city's abundant supply of renewable energy, including hydroelectric power.
Building America is one of several entities that have allocated a total of $34.9 million of New Markets Tax Credits for the facility. The tax credits are designed to attract private capital for redevelopment projects in low-income distressed communities. Others contributing tax credits are Urban Research Park CDE, MassDevelopment New Markets LLC, and AI Wainwright LLC.
In addition to creating more than 535 construction jobs, the computing facility is expected to generate another 350 other jobs in the community.
Once the Massachusetts Green High Performing Computer Center is complete and fully operational, the increased amount of academic research is projected to boost economic activity in Massachusetts by over $50 million and generate an estimated $1.7 million in state and local tax revenues.
Construction of the project began in the fall of 2010 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.
Building America is following the HIT's long and successful history of helping Massachusetts meet its housing and development needs. Since 1995, the HIT has provided more than $278 million in financing for 23 projects in the Commonwealth, which represent more than $749 million of development activity, 3,197 units of housing, and over 4,000 union construction jobs.
About Building America
Building America CDE was established as a subsidiary of the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust in 2010. The U.S. Treasury Department's CDFI Fund certified Building America as a Community Development Entity, making it eligible to offer federal New Markets Tax Credits to investors. Building America was awarded $35 million of these tax credits in 2011 and another $50 million this year. Building America's parent company, the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, is a fixed-income investment company registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It manages over $4.4 billion in assets for approximately 350 investors, which include union and public employee pension plans. The HIT invests primarily in government and agency insured and guaranteed multifamily and single family mortgage-backed securities. The HIT is one of the earliest and most successful practitioners of socially responsible, economically targeted investing, with a 45-year track record that demonstrates the added value derived from union-friendly investments.
Source: Building America
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