Case Study:Green Street Academy

125 N. Hilton Street Baltimore, MD 21229

Green Street Academy is a Maryland public charter school which provides STEM-based academics for students in grades 6-12. The School renovated and operates in a historic 130,000 sf Baltimore City Public School which was originally built in 1925.  At the time of its financing in 2017, the School enrolled over 730 students, had an operating budget of approximately $8.5 million and outstanding debt of approximately $17.5 million.

Project Overview

The School’s project involved the renovation of the former Gwynn Falls Park Junior High located at 125 North Hilton Street in southwest Baltimore, Maryland.  Designed by the firm Smith and May in the Gothic Revival style and completed in 1926, the 145,000-square foot building sits on an 8.75-acre campus abutting the Gwynn Falls Run. At its peak, the school accommodated more than 2,000 students. Between 2014 and 2015, GSA renovated the building to include a 10,800 square foot green roof and a 3,000 square foot state-of-the-art media center among other significant property advancements. GSA celebrated its facility Grand Opening on September 21, 2015.

Financing Overview

Green Street Academy sought to refinance all outstanding components of the debt financing for its project through this transaction and secure a small of amount of new money financing. The components included senior debt from Bank of America, subordinate debt from an organization and an individual, and capital lease. An important goal of the transaction was to increase the Academy’s liquidity by use of reimbursements for prior expenses and through creative structuring of interest only periods and covenant allowances.

The Academy’s financing comprised one series of tax-exempt debt and an additional series of taxable debt obligations totaling $22.115 million. The bonds were sold as non-rated obligations through a limited offering to qualified investors. The Series 2017A Bonds were structured as fixed rate tax-exempt obligations with a 35 year amortization period. The 2017B Bonds were structured as permanent taxable debt amortized as quickly as possible to improve the Academy’s cost of capital.

Wye River Group’s Role

Wye River had the privilege to work closely with a select group of Board members and management to assess the School’s debt capacity and alternatives, and then plan its project financing. More specifically, our services included:

  • Preliminary project planning including an assessment of debt capacity
  • Finance Plan development
  • Competitive solicitation of prospective underwriters
  • Ongoing advisory work including capital structuring analysis related to the implications of corporate tax rate adjustments (2017) and new money and swap modification discussions (2017)

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