Mortgage Observer

Mortgage Observer

Jet Stream: Life Companies Land in Europe


Slowly but steadily the European financing landscape is moving towards a U.S. model of lending, where banks are no longer the dominant lenders.

Life insurance companies are among the lenders that have been active in the U.S. for a long time, but only in the last few years have emerged as important players on the other side of the ocean. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Astoria Bank’s Commercial Real Estate Head Is Out

Matthew Gutauskas (Photo: LinkedIn).

Astoria Bank’s head of commercial real estate lending, Matthew Gutauskas, has parted ways with the bank, sources told Mortgage Observer. The circumstances surrounding his departure are unclear.

Mr. Gutauskas, who took over as managing director of Astoria’s multifamily and commercial real estate services group in January 2014, is “no longer with the company,” a bank employee confirmed without commenting further. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Barclays Lends $73M on 15 West 55th Street

15 West 55th Street.

Barclays provided a $73 million senior loan to New York-based Assa Properties to refinance existing debt and fund upgrades on a nine-story apartment building at 15 West 55th Street, according to a source with knowledge of the deal. The loan closed in mid-January.

Assa acquired the 56,000-square-foot Midtown Manhattan property, known as The Branson at Fifth, for $36 million, along with an adjacent rental property at 19 West 55th Street for $24 million, in November 2013. The former owner of the two buildings is listed in city records as the New York-based real estate investment firm Ark Partners. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Five Major Market Properties Defeased

Michigan Plaza in Chicago.

Five commercial properties in big cities around the country had their loans fully defeased this week, Mortgage Observer has learned.

Data obtained and provided by the commercial real estate and financial research firm Trepp shows that the properties in Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Dallas and Washington, D.C., carried balances totaling $390.4 million. Defeasance provisions allowed the borrowers to swap out the loans with treasury securities that replicate the cash flows of the loan. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Lever House Loan Goes to Special Servicer

Lever House at 390 Park Avenue.

A $98.8 million CMBS loan on 390 Park Avenue, owned by RFR Holding, has been sent to special servicing with the note facing imminent maturity default, according to a Trepp report based on recent servicer data. CWCapital Asset Management is listed as the special servicer.

The news comes despite the fact that the 234,240-square-foot building known as Lever House is 96 percent occupied with its debt service coverage ratio at 1.33x, the property’s latest financials show. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Berkeley Point Capital Provides $354M Credit Facility For Massive SoCal Portfolio Buy

An aerial view of the Inland Empire (Basil D. Soufi/Wikimedia Commons)

TruAmerica Multifamily, in conjunction with institutional investors including The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America and Allstate, has acquired a 14-property multifamily portfolio in southern California for $482 million, according to an announcement this week.

The acquisition was leveraged with a $354 million FannieMae Credit Facility from Berkeley Point Capital, which was originated by Senior Managing Director Mitch Clarfield. The facility was able to finance the entire portfolio and used both fixed and floating rate debt trusts. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Rabsky Group Takes $95M TD Bank Loan for W’burg Development

Rendering of Leonard Pointe.

TD Bank provided a $95 million mortgage to refinance existing debt on Rabsky Group’s recently completed Leonard Pointe development in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, city records show.

The loan replaces construction financing provided by PNC Bank in October 2013. TD Bank’s Brian Terry, a senior vice president for the suburban New York and Long Island area, originated the new debt, according to the loan documents. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Can the 114th Congress Make a Difference?

Commercial, industrial and residential real estate are more than bellwether sectors of the economy—they are major drivers of growth, employment and prosperity in the United States. The U.S. real estate industry generates $4.6 trillion dollars in revenues per year and employs 17.6 million Americans, according to The Real Estate Roundtable. So, to twist a recent advertising slogan, what happens in the real estate industry doesn’t stay in the real estate industry.

After the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and the subsequent financial crisis of 2008, over the past few years we’ve begun to see steady improvement in economic conditions. However, and particularly in the real estate industry, this growth has fallen far short of a rebound. Single-family housing starts remain significantly below historic levels; there is a yawning affordability gap, in which millions of families are paying more than half of their income for housing and have no savings; and U.S. CMBS issuances are less than half pre-2008 levels, six years into the current recovery. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Clearer Skies Ahead?

Sam Chandan

As they embark on a new year, American investors are more confident than at any time before the financial crisis. Paying little heed to the business cycle or distortions from monetary policy, they are supported in their optimistic assessment by the most immediately observable trends. The economy has grown at a robust pace in recent quarters, rebounding from a brief contraction a year ago. More important, one of the weakest links in the current expansion, labor markets, have shown increased vigor. Save the absence of meaningful wage growth, the last year was the best for net employment gains since the peak of the dot-com era. As of its December meeting, the Federal Reserve now projects that the unemployment rate will fall below its natural level by the end of this year. Barring a significant shock, the outlook is positive. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Old New York: 32 Old Slip

32 Old Slip.

A look at the history of 32 Old Slip in Lower Manhattan, originally the site of a building held by the United States Assay Office—the last public gold refinery in the country. Since then the 1.2-million-square-foot property has been through multiple sales and a big turnaround following Hurricane Sandy. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Extell, Kushner Companies Close $132M in Financing For New Jersey Purchase

Pier Village

A partnership of Extell Development and Kushner Companies closed a new take-out loan of $97 million while assuming $32 million in debt on a New Jersey multifamily building the pair purchased last November.

The duo bought Pier Village, a 492-unit mixed-use development at One Chelsea Avenue in Long Branch, for $180 million, with $51 million in bridge financing from Capital One. Now, they’ve finalized a $97 million long-term fixed-rate take-out with Fannie Mae, which retired the Capital One bridge loan, and assumed a $32 million Freddie Mac loan on the property originated by PNC Bank, according to representatives for both companies. The Freddie Mac loan was originated in mid-2013 and carries a seven-year term. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Normandy Refinances New Jersey Office Park

Park Place.

Normandy Real Estate Partners took out a $65.5 million loan from First Niagara Bank and Principal Real Estate Investors for a four-building office park in Florham Park, N.J., totaling 351,684 square feet, Mortgage Observer has learned.

The three-year, floating-rate loan arranged by HFF will be used to retire existing debt and upgrade amenities at the property, known as Park Place, to meet “best-in-class” standards and fund leasing costs for new tenants, according to the brokerage firm. Read More