Invest Atlanta Helps Cristo Rey Serve More Students

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Atlanta Emerging Markets, Inc., Invest Atlanta’s certified Community Development Entity, has closed an $11 million New Markets Tax Credits transaction that will allow Cristo Rey Atlanta to complete the renovations of their new high school building in Downtown Atlanta.

The Cristo Rey network serves students of limited means, most whom are Hispanic or African-American, and combines a challenging college preparatory curriculum with extracurricular activities and an innovative Corporate Work Study Program. This year, Cristo Rey partnered with 100 Atlanta businesses to place every student in an office work-study job while completing their academic studies. The academic rigor and innovative work-study program has helped 100 percent of Cristo Rey graduates earn college acceptance since 1996. In most cases, these students will be the first person in their extended family to go to college, providing them with a path to opportunity.

Cristo Rey Atlanta currently leases its existing campus, and with nearly 400 students from grades 9-11, is at capacity. The new 88,000 square-foot Downtown facility will allow them to accept an incoming freshman class and serve 520 total students, with the capacity to grow enrollment to 600 in the future. The campus also provides Cristo Rey Atlanta with resources that were previously unavailable, such as a gymnasium, assembly space, music and arts space, and their own kitchen.

Atlanta Emerging Markets, Inc. (AEMI) offers service providers like Cristo Rey flexible financing to support catalytic projects that serve low-income residents. In November 2016, AEMI received a $50 million NMTC allocation from the U.S. Department of Treasury. In December, AEMI closed on another education-focused transaction—an early childhood education center operated by Sheltering Arms in the Peoplestown neighborhood.

Renovations on the seven-story Cristo Rey building are scheduled to be complete by this summer, in time for the 2017 academic year.

Photo courtesy of Cristo Rey Atlanta.