Black Ensemble Theater (Chicago, IL)

About the Theater

Black Ensemble Theater ("Black Ensemble" or the "Theater") is a nationally and internationally-known arts institution on Chicago's north side that has been recognized as one of the most diverse theaters in the country.

The Longhouse Challenge

In the fall of 2013 Longhouse was engaged by the Theater to help refinance its $5 million term loan that it borrowed as part of its $20.0 million construction of the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center in 2011.

The Result

With the help of Longhouse, and in the span of just 3.5 months, the Theater found a new long-term financing partner through a competitive process and issued a bank-qualified, tax-exempt direct purchase bond.

The Bonds were issued with the following features:

  • A five-year fixed rate of 3.15%.  This rate was 185 basis points lower than the rate offered by the Theater's existing bank for the same time period.

  • The Theater was able to issue bank-qualified bonds with the City of Burbank as its issuer-partner and save approximately 40 bps on its all-in rate.

  • Bonds featured a 6-month interest-only period followed by 20 years of monthly principal amortization. The interest-only period gave the Theater a welcome cushion of time to grow into its principal amortization obligations.

  • A debt service coverage ratio of 1.10x tested annually at fiscal year-end was the only required financial covenant that the bonds carried. 

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