The 103,000-member Pen Air FCU in Pensacola, Fla., and the 3.7 million-member Navy Federal Credit Union in Vienna, Va. are the only financial institutions backing the construction of a 127-room hotel in Pensacola.
The two credit unions will lend $13 million of the project's expected cost of roughly $17 million. The project will bring between 350 to more than 1,000, both directly and indirectly, to the community, its backers said.
Tom Furr, business lending manager for $1.1 billion Pen Air, acknowledged the investment is a large one, but stressed that the credit union had experience working with the developer, Innisfree Hotels and, in particular, founder and CEO Julian MacQueen.
The company is privately held by MacQueen and has launched and managed hotel projects in eight states across the Southeast. Furr also noted that the developer has taken advantage of the lower construction costs stemming from the current economic downturn to help keep costs down.
Commercial real estate lending has been a source of both success and controversy for credit unions in the past.