LOS OCAMPO MEXICAN RESTAURANT LEDC loaned $200,000 as a near equity match to long term member Los Ocampo restaurants to support the purchase and renovation of a building at 1750 Suburban Avenue ( I-94 at the White Bear Avenue exit). This building was previously a Baker’s Square restaurant that had been vacant for two years. The total project cost for this business expansion was $1.3 million dollars. Three months after opening, the project has resulted in 46 new job positions – nearly all hires were of low income residents of the East Side of St. Paul. This is Los Ocampo’s 5th restaurant business.
PLAZA DE LOS LAGOS LEDC established an LLC to purchase the former Me Gusta building at 1501 E. Lake Street with the support of a $220,000 loan from this fund to Los Lagos LLC. Tenants in the building are Las Mojarras Restaurant, Safari Braiding, LEDC’s employment training program, and as it develops – the Los Lagos Social Innovation Center. The project will provide classroom space for employment training and will incubate Social Innovation Center businesses – sustainable, green, community oriented enterprises. The building was largely vacant and was in foreclosure.
COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE LOANS LEDC provides loans to invest in real estate in order to create new jobs and to retain existing ones. Recently, LEDC facilitated the refinance of two commercial properties (Mexican restaurants) in West St. Paul and saved them from foreclosure.
AGRICULTURAL COOPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT LEDC began a cooperative development program in 2010, funded by a grant from the US Department of Agriculture. The first step in the program is to conduct a series of feasibility studies to determine whether a variety of cooperative development projects can be viable. The following potential cooperative concepts are being evaluated.
1) A purchasing cooperative of Latino restaurants and other food related businesses.
2) A grower cooperative made up of immigrant farmers.
3) A retail store owned by growers.
4) A cooperative venture designed to market produce to institutions.
5) A cooperative meat processing facility owned jointly by Latino butcher shops and by Latino farmers.
LEDC is also investigating means of financing these cooperative ventures, most of which are based in agricultural areas. These feasibility studies are in progress, but they already have led to a series of subsequent steps.
- LEDC is assisting in the organization of a purchasing cooperative by the local chapter of the Mexican Restaurant Association.
- We have submitted a proposal that would support the financing of a building that would provide warehouse space to the cooperative.
- LEDC has submitted funding proposals to establish a retail produce vendor at the Midtown Global Market and is recruiting owner/members of the grower cooperative that it will serve.
- LEDC is actively seeking funding to purchase a 50-100 acre farm to be leased to a cooperative of growers that have identified access to land as their greatest barrier to operating viable specialty farm production businesses.