St. Augustine companies to benefit from $10 million USDA loan

Acquisition of St. Mark's Pond Properties LLC expected to create jobs

St. Augustine, Fla. – A $10 million United States Department of Agriculture loan to be used for the acquisition of a 1,400-acre sand mine and mitigation bank has been issued to two St. Augustine businesses.

Notre Dame Investors Inc. and Notre Dame Advisors, LLC, both are owned by a St. Augustine resident, will use the loan to acquire St. Mark’s Pond Properties LLC. The loan will also benefit Ancient City Land Management, which operates the mine found at St. Mark’s Pond, which is located west of U.S. 1 and south of International Golf Parkway.

The loan was issued by specialized commercial lender North Avenue Capital and is expected to help the St. Johns County by creating jobs and opportunities, according to NAC Chief Operating Officer Joseph Rowell.

“St. Marks’ Pond is strategically positioned to play a central role in generating jobs and supporting the explosive commercial and residential growth occurring the community,” Rowell said.

Rowell said the job creation is likely to be seen in Ancient City Land Management’s mining operations. The company enters into contracts with developers and other businesses.

He said that the sand in the mine is typically trucked out to a job site and used to raise the level of the ground in advance of a residential or commercial development or road being built.

“We see the job creation as putting local trucking companies to work to keep that sand in the community and, ultimately, all the companies working to develop the properties,” Rowell said.

Rowell said that this USDA loan is a good use of government resources, although he said that no tax dollars went into the loan. It was entirely funded by his company.

“This is a good example of a public-private partnership,” he said.

Dan Laubacker, president and CEO of Ancient City Land Management, had been interested in the business opportunity for years, but was struggling to find a source of funding.

“There’s little to no lending available in the market. However, NAC structured a USDA loan that closed within about 90 days, and our team was able to start work on the project almost immediately,” Laubacker said in a press release. “We were pleasantly surprised to see from the site visit to approvals, this was a very streamlined process.”