Mortgage Observer

Retail Lending Gets Easier—Thanks in No Small Part to CMBS

Retail lending is on the rise

It’s loan shopping season for shopping center owners. Retail landlords around the country are increasingly turning to commercial mortgage-backed securities to finance properties in secondary markets as an alternative to traditional loans, industry sources told Mortgage Observer.


While banks and insurance companies that provide traditional commercial real estate financing are targeting primary markets like New York and San Francisco, focusing on prime properties and the strong multifamily sector, investors who are hungry for returns are willing to dig into CMBS deals on less desirable properties with less prestigious retail tenants and higher leverage, sources said. Read More

Lease Beat

Fossil and Skagen Sign New Times Square Leases

Fossil retail

Watchmaker and leather goods seller Fossil Group will keep its current 3,241-square-foot Times Square location for 15 more years while Skagen, a subsidiary company, will open a new flagship store next door at 48th Street and Broadway under two new leases first reported in the New York Post on Tuesday.

The Danish Skagen brand’s first New York City location in the building at 1585 Broadway owned by financial services firm Morgan Stanley will debut new leather and jewelry lines out of the 1,585-square-foot space, according to CBRE. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Starwood, Crown Acquisitions Tie Up $175M from Morgan Stanley

Old navy

Morgan Stanley provided $175 million in financing to a partnership between Starwood Capital Group and Crown Acquisitions in conjunction with its purchase of 144-150 West 34th Street, according to public records. The three-story Herald Square retail building currently serves as Old Navy’s flagship store.

The loan closed on April 23, the same day as the acquisition, records show. Starwood Capital Group, co-founded and overseen by Barry Sternlicht, bought the retail property from the Kefadilis family’s KLM Construction Corporation for $252 million. KLM initially acquired the building in February 1997.  Read More

Lease Beat

Gap Takes Nascent Downtown Marriott Retail Space

An image of the new Marriott Residence Inn at 170 Broadway. (Credit: Stonehill & Taylor)

Clothing chain Gap Inc. has reportedly signed a roughly 18,900-square-foot lease for a three-level space at the upcoming Marriott Residence Inn at 170 Broadway in Lower Manhattan.

The store reportedly features a 6,500-square-foot ground floor, where asking rents were $600 per square foot, as well as a 5,400-square-foot lower level and 7,000-square-foot second floor. Read More

The Sit-Down

JLL’s Downtown Don: John Wheeler

John Wheeler. (Credit: Lea Rubin)

John Wheeler was tapped in March 2012 to run JLL’s lower Manhattan office after returning to the firm in 2009. He is a managing director at the company and has been with JLL for 14 years. He had two stints working on the principle side of the business for Gramercy Capital and Antares Real Estate Partners. Today he directs JLL’s efforts on Gramercy Capital’s 13.5-million-square-foot national portfolio. A couple of his key transactions have been a 500,000-square-foot sublease to Morgan Stanley at 1 New York Plaza and a 450,000-square-foot master lease to the City of New York at 180 Water Street. In his entire career, Mr. Wheeler, 52, has negotiated 13 million square feet of leases for clients. Last week, Commercial Observer sat down with Mr. Wheeler in his office at 140 Broadway and talked about lower Manhattan post-Superstorm Sandy, leasing prices being pushed from the bottom up and the newly distinguished submarket of the Water Street corridor. Read More

Sales Beat

Purchase of Thor Equities’ 530 Bway Closes at $326M [Updated]

530 Broadway

A joint venture led by Jeff Sutton’s Wharton Properties has nabbed a three-building site at 530 Broadway from Joseph Sitt‘s Thor Equities for $326 million. The sale closed on March 6 and appeared in public records today.

The retail mogul bought the 11-story property to extend his dominance in Soho. It hit the market in February 2013 and Mr. Sitt agreed to sell it to the new owners that September.  Read More

Mortgage Observer

Rockrose Receives Morgan Stanley Loan for LIC Residential Tower

Linc LIC

New York brokerage firm The Singer & Bassuk Organization has negotiated a $240 million loan on behalf of luxury real estate owner Rockrose Development Corp. to refinance its 42-story rental tower Linc LIC‎ in Long Island City, Mortgage Observer has exclusively learned.

Morgan Stanley provided the 10-year loan, which closed on Friday, March 6, Andrew Singer, Singer & Bassuk’s chairman and chief executive officer, said, noting that the loan could be securitized in the future. The permanent mortgage replaces a 5-year $155 million construction loan from October 2011 provided by a syndicate of lenders led by Wells Fargo. Read More

Mortgage Observer

J.P. Morgan’s Priscilla Almodovar Takes Banking on Community to New Heights

Priscilla Almodovar, Head of Community Development Banking at J.P. Morgan Chase (Photo by Michael Nagle)

A first-generation American daughter of Puerto Rican parents, Priscilla Almodovar has a corner office with jaw-dropping views on the 45th floor of a Manhattan skyscraper—home to one of the most powerful banks in the world. The native of Sunset Park, Brooklyn, is working tirelessly to deploy J.P. Morgan Chase’s colossal balance sheet in the section of the real estate world she’s most passionate about: the less-than-glamorous but increasingly important affordable housing industry.

“I am exhibit A for the American dream,” Ms. Almodovar told Mortgage Observer during an interview at her office in January.

Read More

Lease Beat

Talbots Signs Lease at 2 Park Avenue

2 Park Avenue (courtesy of PropertyShark)

Retailer Talbots has signed a 12-year, 49,574-square-foot lease for office space on the second floor of 2 Park Avenue, The Commercial Observer has learned.

The tenant will pay rent in the low $50s per square foot, according to data from CompStak. A previous lease for Penn Mutual on the building’s third floor saw the tenant pay rent in the high $40s per square foot. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Q&A: Peter Sotoloff, Managing Director and Head of Originations at Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies

Peter Sotoloff

Mortgage Observer met with Mr. Sotoloff, who BREDS Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer Michael Nash calls ‘employee No. 1.’ He spoke about his experience on both the financing and development/acquisition sides of commercial real estate and the opportunity to help establish Blackstone’s debt business in the fall of 2007. Read More

REIT Beat

Flagship Retail Locations Could Spell REIT after Hudson’s Bay, Saks Deal

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Hudson’s Bay Company will explore the creation of a real estate investment trust as the company’s proposed acquisition of Saks Inc. stands to add a number of flagship retail locations to the company’s portfolio. HBC agreed to acquire Saks for $16.00 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $2.9 billion.

The merger will create a large real estate portfolio that will include the Saks Fifth Avenue locations on Fifth Avenue in New York and Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, as well as Lord & Taylor’s Fifth Avenue location. Read More

Lease Beat

Leasing Activity Continues at 101 Park Avenue

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Morgan Stanley has signed a long-term renewal for 39,000 square feet across the 23rd and 24th floors at 101 Park Avenue, it was announced today.

“101 Park Avenue has always been and continues to be a property where our tenants are able to provide their employees and clients the best environment possible for conducting business,” said Peter Kalikow, owner and developer of 101 Park Avenue, in a statement. “I am proud of the fact that 101 Park Avenue has such a prestigious roster of tenants who recognize value and stay for a long time.” Read More

Mortgage Observer

Experts: Lots of Opportunities for U.S. Investors in European Debt

Southern Spain.

When comparing the re-emergence of Europe’s real estate market with how real estate has recovered in the United States, investors and analysts speaking to The Mortgage Observer often pointed out, to use a baseball metaphor, that Europe today is barely in the first inning. Of course, this metaphor would hardly be appreciated in Europe. Nonetheless, it is fitting, given that even overseas, the game is increasingly an all-American one. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Brooklyn’s Retail Financing Redux: Hipper Shopping En Route

Cover_gentrification

As the economy continues to build steam, a new Brooklyn finds itself craving a new retail culture—and developers and financers are keeping close watch. While New York’s most populous borough has seen a large number of residential buildings take shape in the past year, financing for retail construction projects and acquisitions are just now beginning to catch up.

When asked, the developers behind several of the latest big retail projects told The Mortgage Observer that many of those properties would have a more chic look and feel and a more versatile use than traditional shopping outlets and malls. One common point of comparison has been Jamestown’s Chelsea Market, the high-end urban food court and shopping center with galleries and production studios mixed in. Read More