Project Category: Investing in Small Business
Organization Name: Community First Fund
Organization Website: https://communityfirstfund.org
1711 Front Street
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17102
Project Cost: $2,650,000
WebpageFX is a full-service digital marketing agency based in Harrisburg, PA that is experiencing rapid client and employee growth. From 2012 to 2016, WebpageFX expanded from 43 full-time employees to 103 full-time employees and forecasted the need to add over 100 new positions by 2011. It had outgrown its headquarters at 1705 North Front Street and needed additional space to expand. WebpageFX received funding from various sources to assist in the acquisition and renovation of a neighboring 12,000 square foot office structure (1711 North Front Street) built in the 1960s. As part of this project, WebpageFX is also constructing a bridge between the two properties and will occupy them both. The project is located in a very low-income census tract within the City of Harrisburg, PA and is fully supported by the City of Harrisburg, Harrisburg Regional Chamber of Commerce/Capital Region Economic Development Corporation, and Community First Fund. All were eager to see this growing technology business move toward property ownership in inner-city Harrisburg, as opposed to seeking larger lease space elsewhere.
Current Status: Construction completed and installing furnishings. Expected occupancy is 6/1/17.
Community Needs Addressed:
Harrisburg is a key city within Community First Fund’s region where our mission is to “create sustainable prosperity for low wealth communities and individuals, especially persons of color and women, by aligning capital, knowledge and advocacy to advance business ownership, housing and community development in the communities we serve.” We have a long history of collaborating with the NDC and other community development and financial institutions to promote community and economic development in eastern Pennsylvania.
The WebpageFX Expansion Project is located in a census tract that qualifies as deeply distressed with a median income of 53.5% of MSA median income. The project site is also located within Harrisburg Technology Corridor Enterprise Zone. The Enterprise Zone is administered by the Harrisburg Regional Chamber of Commerce and Capital Region Economic Development Corporation. The Technology Corridor Enterprise Zone was created to encourage new economy investment and create jobs to help stop the outflow of college graduates.
The WebpageFX Expansion Project will result in the creation of 9 construction FTEs, 100 FTEs over a five-year period, and retain 103 FTEs. It will also allows the company to provide community Web Software Programming Training to 30-50 individuals per month and Internet Marketing training to 35-60 individuals per quarter.
As of 5/12/17, WebpageFX has added 32 new tech positions and scheduled 2 upcoming community training events in their new space.
Benefits and outcome:
Jobs: WebpageFX’s physical expansion into their neighboring property will allow them to double their workforce over the next five years. They will retain 103 permanent full-time employees and create 100 new permanent full-time employees. These positions will include:
- Software Programmers – median salary $76,000
- Internet Marketers – median salary $65,000
- Communications – median salary $65,000
- Web Developers – starting salary $50,000
- Software Engineers – starting salary $45,000
- Summer Internships – paid $10 – $14/hour
Besides quality wages, WebpageFX provides ongoing career training, health and dental benefits, 401K, flex start time, sick and vacation time, matching charity contributions, employee coffee bar, casual dress & many other media agency perks.
Of the 100 new jobs, WebpageFX projects that 25 will be filled by city residents, increasing the number of city residents they employ to 50. These 50 team members will own homes and rent in the city, bringing further investment into the distressed community. Many company employees also shop and are patrons of many local businesses in the City of Harrisburg.
Community Training Programs: WebpageFX offers the following professional training programs:
- Web Software Programming – Two community sessions per month, Basic and Advanced (sessions typically attract 16 – 25 attendees)
- Internet Marketing – Offered quarterly (sessions typically attract 35 – 60 attendees)
Other: Property ownership makes it more likely that WebpageFX will remain and grow in Harrisburg and planned renovations will increase the property value, increasing the local tax base. Over the next 10 years, the projected impact on the Harrisburg will be an increase of $50 MM in payroll tax base; $4.2 MM in home purchases and rent payments; and $1,248,000 spent at local restaurants and shops. Based on US Dept. of Commerce data, 50 new indirect jobs in the city will be created to support the 100 new WebpageFX jobs.
Project partners and collaborators:
Community First Fund (CDFI and CDE serving 13 counties in PA): Community supporter and provider of Leveraged Loan = $340,000
NDC: New Markets Tax Credit Allocatee
JP Morgan Chase: NMTC Investor = $663,000
William Craig: President of WebpageFX, Inc. and provider of Leveraged Loan = $997,000
The project is also supported by the Mayor of Harrisburg, State Representative Patty Kim and State Senator Rob Teplitz, the Harrisburg Regional Chamber of Commerce and Capital Region Economic Development Corporation, administrators of the Harrisburg Technology Corridor Enterprise Zone. The Technology Corridor Enterprise Zone was created to encourage new economy investment and create jobs to help stop the outflow of college graduates. The Zone is legislated at both municipal and state levels.
Additionally, WebpageFX also received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development that includes a $240,000 Pennsylvania First Program grant, $160,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits to be distributed upon creation of the new jobs, and $68,000 in WEDnetPA funding for employee training. The project was coordinated by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s Action Team in collaboration with the Capital Region Economic Development Corporation. In October, Webpage FX was also awarded a $500,000 Impact Harrisburg grant to support the expansion project.
What makes your project unique?
Innovative Financing: JP Morgan Chase NMTC developed a program to make New Markets Tax Credits work for small businesses making investments of approximately $2 million in low income census tracks. They worked to make NMTC investments financially feasible by standardizing the structure and legal documents and by negotiating reduced legal and accounting fees so that the QUALICB received the maximum benefit of the NMTC equity possible.
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