Volunteers of America Chesapeake (“VOAC”), one of the largest and most respected nonprofits in the region, owns a building in Baltimore, MD that will undergo additional improvements to accommodate Arcturus’ Controlled Environment Agriculture (“CEA”) technology, which uses LED lights to grow plants on vertically stacked levels. As a partner in this indoor farm, VOAC has agreed to contribute generous rent concessions to Arcturus. The farm will be co-located in a residential reentry center, which helps ex-offenders reenter society and the workforce after serving federal prison sentences. The farm will provide job training and therapeutic opportunities for VOAC’s residents. Arcturus, CBO and VOAC intend to use this Baltimore model to expand the Company’s CEA technology and training and therapeutic programs developed by VOAC into other markets throughout the United States.
Arcturus previously announced that CBO would act as the Company’s financial advisor with respect to New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) for certain vertical farming projects. As part of this Baltimore farm transaction, CBO Financial will be arranging for $5,000,000 in NMTC based financing. CBO will also plan, co-finance, and perform day-to-day operations at the farm, and Arcturus will provide the system design, off-take agreements, co-finance, and offer ongoing O&M support. The Baltimore Farm is expected to be a showcase for Arcturus’ LED horticulture lighting technology and the first of many projects that CBO and the Company will work on together in collaboration with Volunteers of America Chesapeake.
The NMTC program is a $65 billion federal program designed to incentivize private investment in low-income communities. NMTCs are provided to financial institutions in exchange for equity investments that eligible businesses can use to subsidize project development costs. CBO Financial helps driven organizations, such as Arcturus, to finance facilities that will provide goods and services that benefit populations in need and revitalize communities.
“We are pleased to have partnered with CBO Financial and Volunteers of America Chesapeake on this project and believe that its success will be a bellwether for public private partnerships within the urban farming industry,” says Mr. William Gildea, Arcturus Growthstar Technologies Inc.’s CEO and Chairman. “With Volunteers of America Chesapeake’s diversified real estate holdings, CBO Financial’s experience in community development and expertise in navigating the NMTC process and Arcturus’s CEA technology, this is a perfect partnership. Our goal was always to create impactful social and corporate programs that are mutually beneficial for all involved, from the community, to the company and our shareholders. Partnering with Volunteers of America Chesapeake and CBO Financial puts us in the position to achieve that goal. We hope this is the first of many joint-projects for our companies.”
“We are delighted to be involved with this project, which produces fresh food and quality jobs in a low income community and provides job training and therapy opportunities for VOAC residents. We expect this to be a prototype for future, profitable commercial scale projects that include social service oriented job training and therapeutic programs,” says Craig Stanley, CEO of CBO Financial.
“Volunteers of America Chesapeake has been supporting and providing resources for the ex-offender community for over 35 years in Baltimore, Maryland,” says Russell Snyder, CEO of VOAC. “We are committed to help the residents of our residential reentry center gain job skills and employment opportunities through social enterprise opportunities like vertical farming and we are pleased to partner with Arcturus and CBO Financial in this innovative project.”
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