“The Color of Green: Growing Environmental Business with Collaborative Efforts”
Like their counterparts at Thompson Hine,lawyers at Thompson & Knight recognized an environmental need and opportunity and took action to partner with a number of others to help.
Property assessed clean energy (PACE) is a financing mechanism that has been developing throughout the country on a state-by-state basis over the last six or seven years, explains Thompson & Knight Of Counsel Stephen Block. It provides a means for property owners to finance retrofits toexisting properties in order to make them
The lawyers heard about it through a client, the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development. Then Thompson & Knight partner James Morriss found out that PACE was not available in Texas and legislation was required to allow the state’s property tax collectors to levy a tax assessment on the property. No one was actively pushing for such legislation, so Thompson & Knight formed a nonprofit, Keeping PACE in Texas.
“We reached out to clients we felt would be interested in it,” Block says. “In a macro sense, we felt legislation would benefit our real estate clients, our lending clients would benefit from it, and inure to the greater good of the public at large.” He describes the needed legislation as uncontroversial, not burdensome on taxpayers, something no one would really oppose. Some members of Keeping PACE in Texas happen to be clients of the firm, while others aren’t.