Commercial and industrial property owners in Stephenson County now have access to Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing. This access broadens our scope of real estate investment possibilities in new construction and adaptive reuse of older structures.
C-PACE was introduced in Illinois in 2019 and with the assistance of the Greater Freeport Partnership and the Blackhawk Hills Regional Council, Stephenson County adopted the program in 2021 to make it available to commercial real estate owners and investors in Stephenson County.
Property owners may obtain up to 100 percent financing from private capital providers for eligible improvements such as HVAC, lighting and solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and other improvements in existing buildings and new construction projects.
Through a special assessment, C-PACE financing provides long-term non-recourse financing to private building owners for energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, electric vehicle charging and resiliency projects to be constructed/installed in commercial buildings.
Property of record owner in Stephenson County may voluntarily enter into an assessment contract with the County, and a bond issue secured by the assessment funds the project. The bonds are repaid through a special assessment imposed on the property and never create general or moral obligations of the taxpayers. The assessment contract will spell out the terms and conditions of the financing with the county recorder and recorded as a lien against the property. The lien exists until assessment is paid in full. The capital providers are entitled to the County’s powers and rights regarding delinquent property taxes.
Depending on how your financing is structured, C-PACE can be a more economical alternative to mezzanine financing. C-PACE financings are non-accelerating upon a default or late payment, meaning the amounts due under an assessment contract will continue until paid in full. There is an ability to transfer assessments (along with the ongoing savings) to any new property owner upon the sale of the improved property.
Eligible properties include both existing and newly constructed commercial and industrial buildings and multi- family apartment buildings consisting of five or more dwelling units, including: office, retail, warehouse, industrial, multifamily residential (five or more units), hotels and motels, conference facilities, healthcare and labs, private educational facilities, data centers, agricultural facilities, sports and entertainment.