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Business Observer Tuesday, Sep. 14, 2021 1 year ago

Bank working on loan program to protect condominium buildings from effects of climate crisis

Climate First Bank is developing new loan program to protect buildings from climate-related damage and cut back on emissions
by: Louis Llovio Commercial Real Estate Editor

ST. PETERSBURG —Climate First Bank, which opened its doors earlier this year, is working on loan program that will allow owners to retrofit buildings for protection against what it calls “weather events caused by the climate crisis.”

The St. Petersburg based bank says that when complete, the new program will be aimed at communities that bear the brunt of hurricanes and flooding. The consequences of these kinds of events are saltwater corrosion and other damages to condominium infrastructure, according to Climate First.

In addition to loaning money for the upgrades, the program will be designed to encourage building owners to make renovations that will address energy and water efficiency, addressing the climate issue at its source by decreasing carbon emissions.

Ken LaRoe, founder and CEO of Climate First, says in a statement that in Miami and seven other Florida cities two-thirds of the condominiums are more than 30-years-old.

“This is a massive issue and we’re looking to address both sides of the problem,” he says in the statement. “Not only are these buildings extremely vulnerable to severe weather, but they’re also extremely inefficient. We want sustainability and adaptability of the structure to work hand in hand.”

LaRoe and Gloria Romero Roses, a shareholder and advisor to the bank’s board, are working to construct the program. There is no immediate time frame for when it will be ready.

Climate First was founded “with a vision to reimagine the community bank as a force for positive change.” It operates under environmental, social and governance principles, meaning it’s socially conscious about how it conducts business.

It opened its first branch in downtown St. Petersburg June 1.

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