Mortgage Observer

What, Us Worry?

Sales Of New Homes Point To Recovery In Housing Market

Once a year the mortgage industry’s financial minds get together to talk shop, and traditionally they take the gloves off on this occasion.

The annual meeting of the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council in Miami Beach is a chance for bankers, B-piece buyers, alternative lenders and investors to kibbitz on what might go wrong in the coming year. This year’s gathering was no exception. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Starwood Loans $480M For Giant San Francisco Mixed-use Project

181 Fremont Street

San Francisco-based developer Jay Paul Company grabbed a whopping $480 million in construction funds from Starwood Property Trust to continue building 181 Fremont Street, a mixed-use project in San Francisco’s uber-trendy South of Market neighborhood.

The building will have 400,000 square feet of office space, 65 residential condominiums and a retail component, according to Starwood executives. Construction began last November, according to published reports. At the time, Jay Paul estimated the cost of the project to be $500 million. Read More

Growth Equity Gets $50M Investment from Google Capital

L to R: Monte Koch, Jeff Frieden, Rob Friedman

Google Capital, a growth equity fund backed by internet giant Google, has invested $50 million in The investment values the online real estate marketplace at $1.2 billion. 

Google Capital joins a list of prominent shareholders in, including Starwood Capital Group, Starwood Property Trust, Stone Point Capital and funds managed by Fortress Investment Group. As part of Google Capital’s investment, a representative of the fund will join’s Board of Directors and an additional representative will assume a board observer position. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Singer & Bassuk Secures $450 Million Starwood Property Trust Loan for 250 East 57th Street Condo

Rendering of 250 East 57th Street by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Roger Duffy

The Singer & Bassuk Organization has closed a $450 million construction loan from Starwood Property Trust for World-Wide Group‘s $600 million luxury condo development at 250-252 East 57th Street, Mortgage Observer has exclusively learned.

The four-year loan with extension options, which closed earlier today, covers 93 condo units and 173 rental apartments as well as 33,000 square feet of retail space, said Andrew Singer, chairman and CEO of the New York-based brokerage firm, and a spokesperson for the developer. The loan also covers the Whole Foods Market store that was built on the site in 2010, Mr. Singer noted. Read More

Lease Beat

Financial Firms Ink Full-Floor Deals at 1140 Avenue of the Americas

1140 Avenue of the Americas

Two financial services firms have signed 12,750-square-foot full-floor deals at 1140 Avenue of the Americas, The Commercial Observer has learned.

Trilogy Global Advisors will relocate from the Grace Building to the 18th floor of the Equity Office property. The tenant will pay rent starting at approximately $80 per square foot in a 10-year deal, according to data from CompStak.

Read More

Lease Beat

Starwood Property Trust Leases 12,750 Square Feet at Busy 1140 Avenue of the Americas

1140 Avenue of the Americas

Starwood Property Trust Inc. inked a 12,750-square-foot deal at 1140 Avenue of the Americas in one of five direct leases at the property announced last week that totaled 44,568 square feet.

The commercial mortgage real estate investment trust will take up the entire fifth floor of the 253,418-square-foot Midtown tower as it consolidates several different business units from various Manhattan offices there. Read More

Sales Beat

Yakety Yack, Don’t Talk Back: Eric Hader ‘Cleanin’ Up’ to the Tune of $250 M. at Popular Music Haven


A building described by some as “the most important generator of popular songs in the Western world,” including The Coasters‘ 1958 hit The Brill Building at 1619 Broadway is famous for housing music industry offices and studios where some of the most popular American music tunes were written over the last several decades.

Now, its Read More

CMBS, Feature

Debt Pioneers: Starwood Property Trust’s Brain Trust


This past October, after three and a half-weeks of negotiations, Starwood Property Trust and a fund controlled by Starwood Capital Group originated the REIT’s largest transaction so far—$475 million in combined acquisition and construction financing for a joint venture to develop Times Square Gateway Center, a 340,000-square-foot multi-use complex in the busiest area of Manhattan.

After a run of about three years, Starwood Property Trust, which real estate investor Barry Sternlicht took public in August 2009, has “entered the big league,” as FBR Capital Markets analyst Gabe Poggi wrote in a report after the release of the REIT’s third-quarter 2012 results. Read More