As a member of the Oakley Community Council, an Oakley resident, and with two other partners located nearby in Hyde Park and Madisonville, the MadTree owners considered Oakley as a next option. A frequent attendee at Oakley Community Council meetings was Steve Dragon, Vice President of Vandercar Holdings, an Oakley real estate development firm. McNutt mentioned looking for expansion real estate, and Dragon introduced him to Vandercar Holdings CEO Rob Smyjunas, who knew exactly what real estate was available in Oakley. Smyjunas then connected McNutt with Dan Ruh, Senior Vice President of downtown Cincinnati real estate firm Al. Neyer, who then invited McNutt and his partners to meet him at the former RockTenn Co. paper mill site in Oakley the same day the introduction was made.
“It was really organic how it happened,” says McNutt. “We had the property under contract in April 2015, and spent the rest of the year putting our expansion plan together.” One of the first calls McNutt made after seeing the property was to HCDC loan officer Angela Howard, who started paperwork for an SBA 504 loan. HCDC is a Certified Development Company, and as such, is approved to service SBA loans with a 40% stake in the project. A third-party lender holds the first property lien at 50%, and the borrower puts in 10-20% equity on the loan, depending on the project.
“Working with HCDC has been very easy, says McNutt. “I can always call Angie [Angela] with any questions. She even gave me her personal cell number for me to reach her when she was out of the office. Most people have heard of the SBA, but without HCDC, the bank won’t come in, and you won’t get state and local investment,” he continues.
In addition to the $5,249,000 HCDC loan for the real estate and new equipment, MadTree took out an $8 million loan with Chase Bank, received $1.25 million from the City of Cincinnati for land improvement, received a $1.5 million loan from the State of Ohio, and received a Jobs Ohio grant for $0.5 million for not only retaining 50 jobs, but for creating an estimated additional 50 new jobs through 2020. The new expansion is currently under construction.