The sponsor behind a combined-cycle gas-fired project in PJM Interconnection has begun taking debt proposals from banks.

Indeck Energy is soliciting bids from lenders for its 1 GW Niles Energy Center in Michigan, a project financing has been in the works for well over a year (PFR, 10/30/17).

Financial adviser and equity placement agent Whitehall & Co. is understood to have circled equity commitments from Southern Korean investors, following the better-than-expected PJM capacity auction last year (PFR, 4/26).

Korea Southern Power Corp. has committed 50% of the equity ticket, while petrochemical and construction company Daelim has signed up for 30%, with Indeck fronting the remaining 20%.

Calls to Whitehall officials in New York and Indeck’s Chicago-based v.p. finance Bill Garth were not returned by press time.

The $1 billion project has been the subject of chatter across power sector conferences for months and deal watchers peg financial close for the end of March. Indeck hopes to finance the project at a 55:45 debt-to-equity ratio. 

"It's got a low build cost of $960/kW compared to the $1,110 to $1,200 it usually costs for these things," said a person familiar with the deal. "There's a gas pipeline running through the middle of the site and the interconnection with PJM is only a couple miles away."

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