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NTCIC Finances Twinned Investment in Piece of Memphis History

Written By: NTCIC

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 20, 2020 – The National Trust Community Investment Corporation (NTCIC) announces the successful financial closing for the development of the historic American Snuff Factory warehouse in Memphis, Tennessee. The $58.9 million revitalization efforts will transform the former smokeless tobacco plant into a mixed-income apartment community, the new home to Varsity Spirit, and lead in the catalytic revitalization of the Uptown community. Project financing was made possible, in part, by $12.5 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation provided by NTCIC, as well as an investment from NTCIC’s newly established Community Impact and Revitalization Fund to support the $10.8 million in federal Historic Tax Credits (HTC) generated by the project.

“The revitalization of the American Snuff Factory warehouse is a shining example of how the HTC and NMTC can come together to preserve and celebrate a piece of history while supporting the growth and future of a community,” said NTCIC President Merrill Hoopengardner.

A New Use for a Historic Space

The American Snuff Company constructed the Memphis warehouse in 1912 to house the production, packaging, and distribution of its smokeless tobacco (snuff) products. The company was a major success over its 100-year history, becoming the second-largest snuff manufacturer in the US by the 1950s and continuing its success to this day. American Snuff was acquired by Reynolds American in mid-2006 and now generates nearly 7% of its new owner’s annual revenue. The original warehouse remained in operation until 2012.

Once complete, the complex will be converted into 137 mixed-income apartments and over 68,500 square feet of commercial space. The project will be anchored by Varsity Spirit, a global leader in the competitive cheerleading and dance team industry. The organization will move its headquarters from the suburbs to the revitalized space. The remaining commercial space will likely include restaurants and a coffee shop.

Revitalizing a Community

Located near the North Memphis and Uptown neighborhoods, the American Snuff Factory has been a major area of focus for community and city stakeholders for years and was identified as a key catalyst for revitalization efforts.

The revitalization of the historic warehouse will create an estimated 148 construction jobs, all of which will pay a living wage or higher. Many of these positions will be union eligible, readily available to people who face job barriers, and will be open to members of the surrounding community. A minimum of 25% of the construction contracts will be awarded to minority- and women-owned business enterprises.

Varsity Spirit’s will bring 188 employees to their new location, adding a new sense of vibrancy and traffic to the immediate neighborhood that, along with more development, will ultimately encourage additional supporting commercial services.

NTCIC’s NMTC investment will allow the revitalized residential space to include at least 31 units that will be income and rent-restricted to community members earning 80% or below the area median income. It will also support reduced rental rates for the Varsity Spirit, which in turn will enable them to add 50 additional jobs and provide additional training opportunities for new and existing employees.

To learn more about the history of the building and NTCIC’s involvement, click here.