Youngstown Energy District OKs $9.4M in Hotel Refinancing

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The developers of the DoubleTree by Hilton Youngstown Downtown hotel will borrow up to $9.4 million through a property assessed clean energy – or PACE – financing agreement approved Friday afternoon.

The Youngstown Energy Special Improvement District Board of Directors approved the financing arrangement, through which SPH Youngstown LLC, an affiliate of Stonehill Strategic Capital, will loan Youngstown Stambaugh Hotel LLP the funds to refinance energy-related improvements made to the former Stambaugh Building.

The city board of control Thursday approved agreements authorizing the creation of the Energy Special Improvement District and facilitating the assessment. City Council approved creation of the district in January. PACE loans, which are limited to commercial properties, can be used to pay for new energy efficient projects, energy efficiency upgrades to existing buildings or to refinance past energy-efficiency improvements.

An energy audit performed by Energility, an engineering consultant based in Columbus, determined energy-improvement expenses totaled $8.5 million, said attorney Colin Kalvas, a partner at Bricker Graydon LLP in Columbus. Those improvements included upgrades to the building’s lighting, HVAC and hot water systems.

The loan, which will cover the costs of the covered energy improvements, closing costs, fees and other related expenses, will be repaid through an assessment attached to the hotel property tax bill over a 25-year term beginning in January.

The hotel partnership will be assessed about $463,000 twice annually, depending on the amount of closing costs, said Nick Chretien, the energy district’s executive director. Chretien is planning and regional development manager for the Western Reserve Port Authority, which is serving as program administrator for the ESID.

No public dollars are at risk unless a public lender chooses to provide financing though a PACE agreement, Kalvas said,

“This deal is totally private lending,” he added.

Following a brief executive session, the board also approved hiring Roetzel & Andress as legal counsel for the Energy Special Improvement District.

The Akron law firm represents the Development Finance Authority of Summit County in similar deals, Chretien said.

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