Alpha Cine, a motion picture film processing company, has been a cornerstone of the United States’ film industry since its inception in 1964. As film and video technology have evolved, so has the company, expanding its capacity and updating its processes to keep pace with the needs of the industry. Originally occupying the entire ground floor of a 100-year old building in Seattle, Alpha Cine had nowhere to go but up, employing makeshift plumbing and ventilation systems as it went along to accommodate the chemical processes required in its film processing.
When current owner Don Jensen purchased the business in 2006, he recognized the critical need for a new state-of-the-art space that would suit Alpha Cine’s unique infrastructure requirements but lacked the means to make it happen. A profile of Alpha Cine in the Seattle Times-Intelligencer brought the company’s plight to the attention of the City of Seattle. With business retention as a priority, the City called in long-standing development assistance partner NDC to help structure a financing package to meet Alpha Cine’s needs.
Together, NDC’s Grow America Fund (GAF) and the City put together a unique financing package including a $3.8 million HUD Section 108 loan and a $1.5 million GAF loan to finance acquisition and construction on a new space for Alpha Cine. GAF’s 25-year term and low interest rate were the final pieces of what proved to be a complex financial puzzle. Construction is well underway and Don plans to relocate his business in late 2009.
And Alpha Cine is just the first investment in a new era of credit availability for Seattle’s small businesses – the job-generators and economic engines that drive the City’s economy – who need those dollars now more than ever. The new Grow Seattle Fund, a partnership between GAF, the City of Seattle, King County, Washington, and the Seattle Foundation, has been capitalized with over $1.5 million. With the recent Federal increase in SBA’s loan guarantees to 90%, the original $1.5 million investment can be leveraged 10 times over providing $15 million in loans to Seattle’s small businesses.