The Grand Forks JDA rubber stamped three items on Monday; one of which was an accelerate loan request First-i – a Grand Forks-based drone company – that has been in the works for months.
The meeting lasted about 10 minutes, and no discussions were held on any of the three items, which had been ever-present in meeting agendas until this point.
First-i’s accelerate loan is a convertible note at a 20% discount, and a minimum 10% owner equity requirement for the was agreed on during the July 12 Grand Forks Growth Fund meeting, as well as a maximum loan of $250,000 with no payments or interest for the first three years, then two years of 2% interest, also with no payments, and then a balloon payment after the first five years.
Another issue was the potential for conflicts of interest between the city and the companies on the receiving end of accelerate loans.
Community Development Director Meredith Richards spoke about each item to remind those in attendance of what was being agreed upon. She emphasized how highly she thought of First-i and how patient it has been before saying she did not want to slow down the process for the company any more than it already was.
“(First-i) were introduced to this group very shortly after this program was adopted, so this has been looked at in one form or another since May,” Richards said during the item containing First-i’s loan request. “There’s been a lot of due diligence applied to these people, and they’ve been very helpful and patient as we’ve used them to learn how to really refine this program.”
First-i was swiftly approved for a loan in the maximum amount of $250,000, which will be added to the $850,000 in state funds it is also receiving.
Also at Monday’s meeting, committee members voted to allow Corporate Center II on DeMers Avenue in downtown Grand Forks to be sold at a public auction via sealed bid. The building is valued at an estimated $3 million, and the JDA does not have to accept the highest offer for the building if it is lower than that amount.