North Avenue Capital (NAC), a specialized commercial lender, has announced the recent completion of a USDA Rural Development Business & Industry loan totaling $10 million dollars for the acquisition of St. Mark’s Pond Properties, LLC, owner of a 1,400-acre sand mine and mitigation bank located in St. Augustine, Fla.
According to Joseph Rowell, Chief Operating Officer, who managed the transaction for NAC, the loan is helping the St. Augustine rural community by creating jobs and opportunities for the surrounding vicinity.
“St. Mark’s Pond is strategically positioned to play a central role in generating jobs and supporting the explosive commercial and residential growth occurring in the community,” said Rowell. Dan Laubacker is President and CEO of Ancient City Land Management, co-manager of the mining operation, and had his attention on the business opportunity for years. “I knew this property had a lot of potential. It’s one of the last undeveloped grounds between Duval and St. Johns County, so we’ll be able to provide opportunities for a good part of the market,” said Laubacker.
Having spent months developing a plan and meeting with traditional capital providers, Laubacker found it difficult to find funding. “There’s little to no lending available in the market. However, NAC structured a USDA loan that closed within about 90 days, and our team was able to start work on the project almost immediately,” said Laubacker. “We were pleasantly surprised to see from the site visit to approvals, this was a very streamlined process,” he said.
According to NAC Chief Executive, Ben Chatraw, St. Mark’s Pond is a prime example of how the USDA is teaming up with entrepreneurs to support economic growth outside of larger cities like nearby Jacksonville, Fla. “It takes less than 30 minutes outside of many U.S. cities for one to find themselves in the heart of rural America, where businesses are still struggling to access affordable capital. The USDA program is making an impact on these companies, their employees, and the communities where they’re generating growth,” said Chatraw.