Natixis Leads $480M Construction Loan for Boston Seaport District Project


Natixis has provided a $480 million construction loan to Cottonwood Management for the development of EchelonSeaporta 1.3 million-square-foot mixed-use project in Boston’s Seaport District, Commercial Observer can first report.

The 54-month loan will finance the $900 million project’s 733-unit, 887,000-square-foot residential componentcomprising two condominium towers and one luxury rental tower, in addition to a two-story, 125,000-square-foot retail space centered around a public courtyard.

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“We’re thrilled to be financing Boston’s Seaport Square project, which illustrates our ability to provide borrowers tremendous capital markets access and unique, tailored deal structures and financing solutions,” said Greg Murphy, the head of real estate finance Americas at Natixis. “We are encouraged by what this deal says about the quality of our platform and believe the Seaport has found a great partner in Cottonwood Management.”

Natixis syndicated the behemoth construction loan, attracting a number of international banks to the deal, Murphy said. “I think the caliber of the project is a big part of it,” Murphy told CO. “From the architect to the builder, Cottonwood assembled a great team and all aspects are top-notch.  A Class-A, quality asset in a gateway city is very attractive for a lot of foreign lenders.”

Preconstruction kicked off in March 2017 with Cottonwood Management breaking ground on the 3.5-acre developmentat Seaport Boulevard and B Street—last June. Construction is scheduled to span three years in total, with the three towers’ completion being phased between the third quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020.

“Boston’s Seaport is one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the world right now and is the perfect starting place for Cottonwood to establish the Echelon lifestyle brand,” Alexander Shing, the chairman and CEO of Cottonwood Management, said in prepared remarks. “EchelonSeaport will anchor the Seaport community with a new level of design, service and lifestyle amenities.”

EchelonSeaport’s Tower 1 and Tower 2 will include 268 and 180 luxury condominium units, respectively, and private terraces. Tower 3 is a 285-unit multifamily rental building, which will include micro-living units and shared entrepreneurial work spaces. Its 50,000 square feet of common amenities will include a wine room, a lounge, outdoor and indoor swimming pools, a spa treatment room, a half basketball court, a children’s playroom and a pet spa.

WS Development, which currently owns more than 1.3 million square feet of retail space in the 20-block Seaport district, will own and manage the development’s retail portion.

The project’s mixed uses added some intricacies to the transaction. “It was definitely a complex deal,” Murphy said. “But as we’re in all market sectors, we were able to break out all of the component pieces, analyze them separately and then together as the project. So, we were able to efficiently apply our skills to a very complex project.”

The transaction came to Natixis’ New York office via the bank’s Hong Kong office, which covers the client as well as many of the lenders in the syndicate. “They did a lot to help pull the deal together both from an origination perspective and a syndication perspective,” Murphy said.

Looking ahead to 2018, the Boston market is on Natixis’ radar. “Boston has had a lot of tech growth, given all of the research universities there,” Murphy said. “So, we believe Boston is a solid performer and has very strong demand drivers for office and multifamily properties.”