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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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Fredericksburg nonprofit plans to buy its facility

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A Fredericksburg school that focuses on workforce and academic training for special-needs teenagers and young adults plans to purchase its Willis Street property.

Employment Resources Inc., which operates The Gladys H. Oberle School, is under contract to purchase the 22,000-square-foot facility at 404 Willis St. from local businessman Joe Wilson.

The nonprofit has applied to issue about $1.62 million worth of bonds through Fredericksburg’s Economic Development Authority to finance the purchase. A public hearing is scheduled for June 11. Union First Market Bank would underwrite the bank-qualified bonds, according to the EDA application.

The EDA would receive a small fee for issuing the tax-exempt bonds, which ERI President Joan McLaughlin said will have an interest rate of about 3.6 percent. The annual fee is typically one-eighth of one percent of the loan balance. The EDA puts the money toward various economic development projects in the city.

Wilson is on the EDA but will not vote on the ERI bond matter.

ERI, which was formed in 1990, rented space at 500 Lafayette Blvd. for most of its history before leasing the Willis Street facility from Wilson a couple of years ago. McLaughlin said the company plans to build out the remainder of the space with facilities for new healthcare and culinary arts programs, which are expected to lead to about 12 new full-time jobs. She said the company doesn’t want to invest additional money on a building it doesn’t own.

ERI hopes to close on the purchase of the Willis Street facility by July.

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