Private Investor Spending Millions on Business Improvement

The City of Sacramento is one of two U.S. cities set to participate in a massive energy-efficiency project assembled by British business tycoon Richard Branson.

The plan would pour an estimated $100 million into retrofitting commercial buildings in the Downtown Sacramento area. The company running the project, Ygrene Energy Fund of Santa Rosa, estimates the plan could generate upwards of 8,000 construction jobs for the city. “It’s a huge shot in the arm,” said Craig Sheehy of Envision Realty Services of Folsom, which assists commercial property owners with energy efficiency projects.

This program will provide private dollars by investors whom will generate upfront cash for the retrofits, with building owners paying the improvements over 20 years through a special assessment on their property taxes. The savings on their energy bills would more than pay for the assessments, making it a good deal for property owners. The investors, meanwhile, would receive the assessments.

While the city foregoes the tax dollars on the building improvements, it gets the economic benefit of job creation, which can include sales tax revenues.

The other participating city is Miami, which is in line for $550 million in improvements. ■



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