In the New York area, in addition to 40 Worth Street, Capital One has provided financing for Jamestown Properties’ $81.4 million purchase of 31-00 47th Avenue in Long Island City, known as the Falchi Building, and the $12.2 million sale of 141 apartment units at 3576-3578 Dekalb Avenue in the Bronx.
Multifamily units in the boroughs like those on Dekalb Avenue are a big focus.
“We think of it as workforce housing,” he said. “We’re not doing it and packaging it up and selling it to Fannie or Freddie, we’re doing it on our balance sheet. The multifamily portfolio is about $6 billion in the New York tri-state area and it’s predominately in the boroughs of New York—in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens—some of it in New Jersey and Long Island, but predominately in the boroughs.”
With construction coming back in the city, Mr. Lyon pointed out that Capital One is very selective where these loans are concerned.
“We are very selective in our construction loans,” he said, “but we do construction. We did 33 construction loans last year, and that would have been double what we did the year before and we will continue to see good construction loans.” Requirements include a good history that demonstrates an ability to get the project done. “Their ability to execute is critically important,” he said of requirements. “So how you can build a building, how you execute and your resources is a critical thing.”
He went on to say that Capital One isn’t here to provide high-octane, high-risk loans. There is no mezz group, for instance. “Our culture is really to be more the tortoise than the hare,” he said. “Our clients appreciated that we were still breathing at the other end of the phone in December of 2008 and in to 2009. We were doing things—we were talking to clients.”
As for what keeps him excited about the industry after over 30 years, he said the people. “Probably the most exciting thing about real estate is the unique people I meet,” he said. “If you’re a large corporate banker you tend not to be sitting with the owner of the company all the time. Here I am sitting with folks who are owners, who are making their decisions… They’re fascinating people.”
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