Project is one of the largest public-private partnerships to close in water sector in the US

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP has advised international lenders led by Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. in connection with financing for the $920 million Vista Ridge Project, a water pipeline and well field that is expected to provide 20% more water to the city of San Antonio for at least the next 30 years.

The water supply project, being built by Garney Construction, will consist of the production, treatment, delivery and sale to San Antonio Water System of up to 50,000 acre-feet per year of potable water. The water will be pumped through the 142 miles Transmission Pipeline to San Antonio in northern Bexar County.

The Milbank team was led by Allan Marks, partner in the Project, Energy and Infrastructure Finance Group.

“Water has become the new oil,” said Mr. Marks. “With climate change and increased urbanization globally, clean drinking water will increasingly become a more scarce commodity. This is an environmentally responsible project that offers a safe and dependable fresh water source for San Antonio while maintaining the city’s water conservation policies.”


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Mr. Marks added: “This project represents one of the largest public-private partnerships in the water sector in the US and is an example of how shifting risk from public to the private sector in financing, building and operating critical infrastructure benefits the community.”

In addition to Mr. Marks, Milbank attorneys involved in the Vista Ridge transaction include Project Finance special counsel Jeff Cohen and associates JeeseonAhn, Francis Choi, Miguel Duran, Hao Huang, Eusebius Luk and Tom Quirxtner; Environmental Group partner Matthew Ahrens and associate Meghan Gabriel; Tax special counsel Drew Batkin; and Alternative Investments partner Eric Moser and associates Melissa Ferraro and Carl Ruggiero.

Construction on the tunneling is expected to start in December and major construction will commence January 2017. “Using a design-build approach to construction ensures accelerated project delivery,” said Mr. Marks.

One of the largest public-private partnerships to close in the water sector in the U.S., the pipeline will be owned for the first 30 years of its use by the Vista Ridge LLC, with ownership passing thereafter to the San Antonio Water System, a public utility owned by the city.