Room to grow

Expansion plans for the Monadnock Food Co-op, shown here in the spring of 2018, call for a 6,000-square-foot, single-story addition to the east side of the building on Cypress Street in Keene.

Due to a financing holdup, construction of a planned expansion at the Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene will likely not start until mid-fall, according to Michael B. Faber, the co-op’s general manager.

Construction was previously pushed back to this spring after co-op leaders announced in September that they planned to pursue a new funding avenue for the project, which includes a 6,000-square-foot, single-story addition to the east side of the building on Cypress Street and more than 30 new parking spots.

The co-op intends to fund a portion of the expansion through the New Markets Tax Credit program, a federal incentive geared toward promoting economic development in areas designated as low-income. People or private firms invest in projects through an intermediary called a community development entity and then get that investment back through federal tax credits.

Going through that program will allow the co-op to purchase its building, which has been leased from the Monadnock Economic Development Corp., along with adjacent land for the expansion, Drew Bedard, the co-op’s finance manager, said in September.

But when the tax credit awardees were announced in late May — several months later than expected due to the recent partial federal government shutdown — the community development entity the co-op had been working with, Mascoma Community Development, was not one of them, Faber said.

The co-op was able to secure funds through a different community development entity that received New Markets Tax Credits, Burlington-based Vermont Rural Ventures, he said, but is still looking for another partner to fill a remaining funding gap.

“We’re hoping to find just some added allocation from another [community development entity] just to round off the program,” he said. “We’re 95 percent there, so the additional allocation that we’re looking for is $1.5 million.”

Between the addition and purchasing the land and facility, the total project cost is expected to come in at about $10 million, Faber said. Along with funds from the New Markets Tax Credits program, which are expected to cover about a quarter of the costs, the expansion will be supported by a member-owner loan campaign and a few other funding sources, he noted.

Construction could begin as early as November, Faber said. According to the co-op’s website, the projected completion date would be September 2020.

“Things are moving along well for us,” Faber said. “Again, a little bit of a delay in pulling together the financing as it relates to the New Market[s] Tax Credits, but we hope to start with construction later this fall.”

Meg McIntyre can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1404, or mmcintyre@keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter @MMcIntyreKS.