Fahe Announces Three Projects in Kentucky to Receive Support from Opportunity Appalachia

Press Release | June 27, 2024

BEREA, KY–Today, Opportunity Appalachia, a program of Appalachian Community Capital, and State Lead for Kentucky, Fahe, announced selection of 29 projects—including three in Kentucky–to participate in its program aimed at increasing job growth, business support, and investment in Central Appalachia.

These projects are set to create over 2,700 jobs and attract over $270 million in financing, targeting a diverse array of developments such as housing, entrepreneurial and clean energy hubs, manufacturing, community centers, arts & entertainment centers, coworking spaces, and hospitality.

“Fahe is proud to have served as the state lead on the inaugural launch of Opportunity Appalachia in Kentucky. This welcome exposure will help to catalyze more investment in businesses and projects that will contribute to a thriving Appalachia,” said Fahe Vice President of Community Lending Dwain Neeley.

The chosen projects underscore the increasing investment potential in rural and downtown communities across Central Appalachia. Opportunity Appalachia will actively engage with private investors, banks, Community Development Financial Institutions, New Markets Tax Credits investors, Historic Tax Credit Investors, Opportunity Zone investors, and Federal agencies to highlight these communities and facilitate their access to necessary financing.

Opportunity Appalachia received 94 competitive applications for technical assistance from Eastern Kentucky, Southeast Ohio, East Tennessee, Western North Carolina, Southwest Virginia, and all of West Virginia, representing projects with anticipated costs over $620 million. From this impressive pool, three Kentucky projects listed below have been selected for participation.

Opportunity Appalachia Selected Projects–Kentucky

▪ Harlan Hotel, MBTC, Harlan, KY – Restoration of a 100-year-old, five-story hotel on historic Harlan’s Main Street. Estimated costs total $5.5 MM with creation of about 15 permanent jobs.

▪ Wayland Kentucky Downtown Transformation, Wayland Historical Society, Wayland, KY – Renovation of a vacant high school campus to include two anchor tenants in sports training and a telework hub, plus affordable housing, sports facilities, and a diner. Estimated costs total $10 MM with creation of about 45 permanent jobs.

▪ Gateway Regional Arts Center, Mt. Sterling, KY – Expansion and upgrade of the current performing arts center in a historic 1883 former United Methodist Church to meet the booming demand for event capacity, gallery space, and community engagement. Estimated costs total $12 MM with creation of 25 permanent positions.

Technical assistance will be provided to the selected projects, aiding in the development of investment prospectus, structuring financial transactions, conducting market research, operations planning, architectural design, and carrying out investor outreach.

Following the completion of technical assistance, an Investor Convening event will be held in early 2025 targeting both local and pre-vetted national investors, as well as federal and state funders. Additionally, a curated web-based platform hosting prospectus and pitch decks will also be made available to facilitate investor due diligence.

“ARC is proud to support Opportunity Appalachia as they continue to invest and partner in growing our region’s rural communities,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “Our residents’ zip codes should not define their destinies. I’m optimistic about the new job opportunities and overall increased quality of life that will take hold in rural Appalachia as a result of these investments and Opportunity Appalachia’s collaborative approach to economic development.”

This program is supported by the Appalachian Regional Commission, the US Department of Treasury CDFI Fund, Truist Bank, Dogwood Health Trust, the Benedum Foundation, US Bank, and M&T Bank.

Selected projects from other states can be found here.