Regional lender Craft3 is deciding where to invest $50 million in tax credits it recently secured from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

The New Markets Tax Credit program incentivizes investment in rural areas. The Treasury Department makes the awards to organizations such as Craft3, a rural- and environmental-focused community development lender. The organizations find investments in underserved communities that will provide community benefit.

Towler Hall

Federal tax credits helped fund the renovation of Towler Hall, and the construction of Columbia Hall, on Clatsop Community College’s main campus in Astoria.

The Treasury Department awarded Craft3 $40 million in tax credits in 2009, $35 million in 2006 and $8 million in 2003. Craft3 has invested in such projects as building Columbia Hall and renovating Towler Hall on Clatsop Community College’s main campus in Astoria.

“Without Craft3’s New Markets Tax Credit investment in Clatsop Community College, we simply couldn’t have completed the Columbia Hall construction or Towler Hall renovation,” Christopher Breitmeyer, the college president, said in a news release about the tax credits. “These two buildings form the core of our academic spaces at CCC and are used by thousands of students and community members to grow, learn and succeed.”

Adam Zimmerman, the CEO of Craft3, said the lender will decide over the next six months where to invest the $50 million in tax credits.

“It’s our expectation that between three and six projects will be rural in nature,” he said.

Craft3 invests in projects around the Pacific Northwest. Which ones get funded depend on their ripeness, and Craft3 encourages locals to reach out with proposals. The typical project funded requires between $5 million and $20 million, with rural projects usually under $10 million, Zimmerman said.

The New Markets Tax Credit program is set to expire at the end of the year. Craft3 has come out in support of legislation backed by the congressional delegations of Oregon and Washington state to permanently fund the program.

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