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Loans provide benefit to area entrepreneurs


Charlie Seyler has been running a distribution business for 10 years, but it wasn’t until December 2011 that he decided to buy a building to house his enterprise.

“Our business is growing, and it makes sense to have our own,” said Seyler, president and chief executive of Midwest Weld Source Inc., a distributor of welding products.

“Fort Wayne, northeast Indiana is a good place to do business,” he said. “We looked for a long time to find the right building at the right value.”

Timing is everything. And so is financing. Seyler was able to get a government-backed loan that required 10 percent up front for Midwest Weld’s 12,000-square-foot home at 23201 Roemer Drive in an industrial park in Woodburn. Seyler said earlier this year that his company would invest about $400,000 in upgrades.

The entrepreneur worked with the Community Development Corporation of Northeast Indiana. Sponsored by the city of Fort Wayne, the non-profit business development organization lends money at below-market interest rates.

Government-backed loans are definitely the “more affordable way to get into ownership of a building,” said David Nugent, a principal at BND Commercial LLC in Fort Wayne.

Before the recession hit in 2007, about one in five of the commercial deals Nugent worked on involved government-backed loans.

“For the last year and a half, it’s been probably four out of five that have been those kinds of loans,” he said.

Because demand for property has picked up, the inventory of buildings is leveling off, Nugent said. So although interest rates are still attractive for buyers, the market is getting healthier and also benefiting sellers.

With fewer buildings on the market, sellers “know they don’t have to give these properties away,” Nugent said.