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From cleaning coal to saving energy: Baltimore’s Gaslight Square uses C-PACE financing to install improvements benefiting energy and water efficiency | Maryland Commercial PACE



January 7th, 2021


The Maryland PACE Program officially issued approval for a C-PACE financing transaction between the owners of the Gaslight Square property, located in Baltimore, MD, and the specialty C-PACE capital provider, Greenworks Lending. The $1,551,000 of C-PACE financing accessed represents a significant block of funding in a larger planned renovation of the property. This sum of C-PACE financing will be used to upgrade the building façade and achieve greater water efficiency through plumbing improvements. In a city renowned for its preservation of historical buildings, the more than one hundred-year old Gaslight Square will begin a new chapter as the latest property to harness C-PACE financing for clean energy improvements.


The Gaslight Square property began its existence circa 1880-1890s as an industrial property aligned with the local coal industry before undergoing subsequent retrofits for other industrial and commercial purposes starting in 1945. The roughly 80,000 square feet of potential rentable commercial space that makes up Gaslight Square is now an historical and highly identifiable site for a combination of office and flex space. In the past century, Gaslight Square experienced several waves of improvements and retrofits to optimize it for different uses; now in 2021, the structure requires updating to facilitate exterior repairs and upgrades to its internal plumbing systems. This redevelopment presents interesting opportunities for all parties, including the financier, Greenworks Lending:


“The Gaslight Square renovation marks an exciting transformation for this property and the area, which is attracting extensive development. It has been our pleasure to partner with D&I Development and Maryland Energy Advisors on a second Baltimore project.” – Michael Billingsley, Mid-Atlantic Director for Greenworks Lending


The C-PACE improvements have a weighted average useful life of 28 years, while the owners will repay the financing over 25 years, per the Baltimore City program guidelines. All equipment exceeds IECC 2015 building code requirements and will greatly reduce the energy consumption of the building (for example, a 2019 article by Advanced Energy Economy places potential energy savings earned solely through envelope improvements at 40%).


Historical buildings are a prime recipient for C-PACE financing as they are significant energy users compared to newly constructed properties. Furthermore, historical buildings offer locally distinguished spaces for tenants that already fit within the fabric of the community. Reducing inflated utility costs offers an incentive for historical property owners to invest in energy efficiency technology but comes at the potentially high upfront costs of improvement. Large change-of-use projects can be even more daunting due to similar cost barriers. Finally, since savings may not materialize for years, property owners may balk at taking on debt or coming up with personal financing for non-core business uses. However, these obstacles can be removed through the potential for 100 percent and fixed-rate financing offered by C-PACE. C-PACE financing requires no upfront investment by the owner and is transferable in the event of a sale. Additionally, C-PACE can help to finance projects that are not expected to pay for themselves over time. The long repayment terms that are standard in C-PACE agreements result in smaller annual installments over the loan period, which reduces the impact on a property’s annual cash flow.



About the MD-PACE Program

The MD-PACE Program is sponsored by the Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC), a corporate instrumentality of the state of Maryland which advances the adoption of clean energy, energy efficiency products, services and technologies. MCEC leverages private capital to help homeowners, businesses, and government entities reduce energy costs. The MD-PACE program offers C-PACE financing to commercial property owners statewide.


About Greenworks Lending:

Greenworks Lending is the largest provider of Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing in the country. Led by several of the industry’s founding policy developers and standard-setters, Greenworks Lending is a private capital provider uniquely dedicated to funding commercial real estate through C-PACE. Greenworks has provided financing to hundreds of commercial properties and is active in 25 states. Greenworks Lending’s C-PACE financing makes clean energy a smart financial decision for commercial property owners.