Post written by Chris Peterson | Managing Partner, Nebraska
On a cold, wet Friday in March, commercial real estate brokers, bankers, developers and attorneys shuffled into the CenturyLink Center in downtown Omaha.
They came by the hundreds to the 28th annual CRE Summit – an opportunity to connect with old friends, expand their networks, hear industry leaders talk about challenges and opportunities, celebrate successes, and earn a few CLEs.
The Summit, organized annually by a committee led by Omaha attorney Jerry Slusky, attracted more than 800 attendees – mostly Nebraskans and mostly from the Omaha area.
For a first-time attendee like myself, the Summit was an eye-opener as to the number of people working in commercial real estate in the Omaha metro…and the Summit was a motivator to continue working to make PACE financing a reality in Nebraska.
The afternoon sessions included a candidate forum between incumbent Omaha mayor Jean Stothert and challenger former state senator Heath Mello. One exchange between Stothert and Mello was particularly gratifying and was captured by the Omaha World Herald (Panelists at Commercial Real Estate Summit in Omaha say retailers must evolve to survive, 3/26/17):
“In other real estate-related news, Stothert told the group her administration is drafting an ordinance opening the door for a new financing tool that could assist commercial projects. “Pace” funding can be used only for energy-efficiency improvements.
Mello pointed out that he was the sponsor of state legislation allowing Nebraska cities to tap the tool.
No public funds are involved, but City Council approval is needed because an assessment is repaid as if it were property tax, said Chris Peterson of Pace Sage, the entity that wants to be Omaha’s lender.”
After the candidate forum, I headed to the CenturyLink exit and out to the damp, cold parking lot knowing PACE financing was a step closer to reality in Omaha. And once the first Nebraska city has implemented PACE, other communities will follow making PACE (low cost, long-term, fixed-rate, non-recourse financing – in the equity stack) an exciting new energy efficiency tool in the economic development toolbox.