Resources

Client Alerts, News Articles, Blog Posts, & Multimedia

Everything you need to know about BMD and the industry.

BMD's Christopher Walker Helps Connect Veterans with Housing Options

Christopher Walker, a partner with BMD, is currently representing the Invest in America's Veterans Foundation, an organization that strives to provide a "head start" for veterans that involves the least amount of "red tape" possible. With a strong background in corporate and real estate transactions, Walker has been able to assist the foundation with the recent purchase of an apartment building, which will be used for low-income veteran housing.

Please see the article below written by David Cawton of the Daily Record for the full story. 


 

Invest in America’s Veterans Foundation bought the former Mission Springs Apartments in West Jacksonville with plans to convert it into low-income housing for veterans and their families.

The Cape Coral-based nonprofit paid $26.3 million for the property on Tuesday. San Antonio, Texas-based The Lynd Co. will manage the 444-unit complex at 5320 Timuquana Road. 

Christopher Walker, who represents the foundation, said the group is taking stock of how many veterans live there and how it can attract more. 

“We think veterans make up about 10 to 15 percent of the population right now,” Walker said. “In the future, we’d like to see that at least 20 to 25 percent, or about 120 veteran families.” 

He said over the next few months, the foundation will work with Lynd to make minor upgrades to the property and then begin programs for veterans.

“We’re going to work very closely with the other veteran organizations in Jacksonville, such as the VA hospital, the VFWs and American Legions, to make sure we’re providing the right kind of services,” Walker said.

He said the foundation will assist veterans with employment, housing, access to counseling and “getting them the help they need so they can continue to live productive lives.” 

He said the group focused on supporting single-family homes and small-scale programs for the past nine years.

This is the foundation’s first apartment complex, but it won’t be the last, Walker said. 

“We have other apartment complexes and projects that are just as big or larger in the works right now,” he said. 

Ralph Santillo, the foundation’s president, said the property is 96 percent occupied. He estimated monthly rents for the one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments will be $650 to $950.

It also accepts the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program, which is similar to Section 8. The Veterans Administration assists in paying the rents, taking into consideration how much a veteran makes and will pay a percentage of the rent.

Santillo said the foundation was considering construction of a veterans’ center on the property.

In April, the nonprofit was approved to use up to $28.5 million in revenue bonds issued by Capital Trust Agency Inc. 

At the time, there was concern from some City Council members and the mayor’s office whether the project met specific conditions under TEFRA, the Tax Equality and Fiscal Responsibility Act, since the sale is considered tax-exempt. 

A TEFRA hearing, required by the federal tax code, determines whether a project, paid for by tax-exempt bonds, meets certain criteria and is appropriate for the community. 

At the April 5 council Finance Committee meeting, chair Anna Brosche assured the committee that those issues had been handled. 

There also was concern about the loss in revenue to the city because nonprofit ownership of the property removes it from the tax roll. 

The foundation agreed to make payments in lieu of taxes for the lifetime of the bond, about $142,000 a year, to make up for the loss.  

Walker said the foundation is looking for other areas in Jacksonville for expansion, “whether that’s more housing or bringing some of our corporate operations here.” 

“Jacksonville has such a strong reputation with the military and working with veterans,” he added. “It’s a natural fit.” 

Property Owner Protection from Tax Valuation Challenges

New legislation provides significant new protections for commercial property owners against challenges to valuation primarily by local school boards and prohibiting side agreements to avoid tax valuation changes. The Ohio Legislature has approved House Bill 126 which will go into effect July 2022 but will effectively apply to the 2023 tax valuation year.

Fluresh Cannabis’ Bank Loan: Moving Into the Mainstream

The announcement by Fluresh, a vertically integrated Michigan based cannabis business, of the closing of loans from a federally insured commercial bank totaling almost $50 million represents an important landmark for both Fluresh and the cannabis industry writ large. For Fluresh, perhaps as important as the bottom-line benefits of lower cost financing, the fact that its operations and financials passed muster with a substantial commercial bank can be regarded as an important rite of passage. For the industry, it reflects its inexorable movement out of the shadows and into the mainstream. This substantiates the view that, whether or not any of pending the federal legislation is enacted, bank lending to the cannabis industry will continue to accelerate.

Out of the Shadows | An Investor Summit Recap

After a COVID hiatus of more than 2 years, I rejoined the institutional cannabis investment speaker circuit, offering the closing remarks at the Kahner Global Cannabis Private Investment Summit in Coral Gables, Florida. My remarks addressed how banking developments are increasingly impacting cannabis investment, operating and financial strategies and decisions, for both plant touching and the growing array of ancillary businesses serving the industry.

New Year, New Laws, Old Form Documents? Exhibit A: Changes in Florida’s Real Estate Contracts

Settling into a New Year often brings renewed energy into setting and pushing new goals of building business relationships, increasing sales, and moving Letters of Intent and negotiations into final, signed agreements. It’s all too easy to grab a form document off the Internet (Google, anyone?), or to pull the last document in your files as a template for your next agreement. However, changes in the law can take effect at the beginning of the calendar year, as well as mid-year or fiscal new year, and sometimes on a random date in between. Your awareness – or lack of awareness – in changes in the law can mean the difference between keeping you and your business operating within the law or putting you at great financial and legal risk for not complying with the law. It can also result in financial and time savings or additional burden in time and costs.

BMD Announced in Best Law Firms 2022 List

We are excited to announce that BMD is included in the 2022 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms,” recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. The full firm report is included.