For the first time, three incentives were combined in Alabama, bringing senior care, new jobs and historic development to Heflin, a town in rural Cleburne County. “As a first-of-its kind development, Stuart Coleman and Jerry Lathan of Lathan & Coleman, LLC combined opportunity zone credits with historic tax credits and new market tax credits to redevelop an abandoned high school in Heflin, AL into a state-of-the-art, $13 million assisted- living and memory-care facility,” said Alex Flachsbart, CEO of Opportunity Alabama.
Mobile-based development firm Lathan & Coleman used a combination of three different incentives—Opportunity Zones, New Markets Tax Credit and Alabama’s Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit—to bring high-quality senior care, a community focal point and 40-plus new jobs to Heflin, Alabama, population 3,425. “It’s not only a tremendous asset for this town, it’s a scalable model for other communities,” said Anoop Mishra, regional executive with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in Birmingham.
“This is a good example of incentives and creative and innovative people working together to meet community needs,” said Dr. Raphael Bostic, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
While the project, known as Carillon Oaks, is viewed by the financial industry as a groundbreaking deal, deal-making is secondary to place-making for developers Jerry Lathan and Stuart Coleman. “We’ve enjoyed working with Lathan & Coleman because they are willing to put in the time and energy to revitalize a place” said Flachsbart. “They are meeting a critical need for the region and creating substantial economic and social impact through their partnership.”
Partner Jerry Lathan’s development background has focused on restoring historic places; Stuart Coleman’s senior-care career has been strong on the importance of a healthy sense of place. “This project was a natural fit for us,” Lathan said. “Typically, a rural town of Heflin’s size has no assisted living or memory care—families are often separated from their loved one by a drive of an hour or more. Bringing a high level of care to this town was particularly close to our hearts.”
“Community support has been incredible,” said developer and partner Stuart Coleman. “It is what programs like these are all about—to bring this type of benefit to wonderful communities like Heflin.”
What was once the school’s auditorium has been restored to bring the community back to center stage as public space for receptions, recitals, plays and other events. The school, a National Historic Landmark, will also offer residents and their families gathering places like a coffee/bistro area, chapel and beauty salon. Assisted-living residences will be housed in the restored school, complemented by a new memory care center.