Cape Advisors Closes $280M in Financing for Queens Multi Development 


Cape Advisors and The Pioneer Group have landed $280 million in debt and joint venture equity for the development of 30-77 Vernon Boulevard, a three-building rental property on Astoria’s waterfront that includes affordable units, Commercial Observer has learned. 

Square Mile Capital Management provided a $225 million construction loan in the deal, sources confirmed to CO. 

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Meridian Capital Group secured the debt and JLL (JLL) secured JV equity in the financing. 

The development marks Cape Advisors’ first foray into the outer boroughs and will offer residents unobstructed water and Manhattan skyline views. 

“We’re delighted to be moving forward with this transformative project on the Astoria  waterfront,” Craig Wood, the founder and CEO of Cape Advisors, said in prepared remarks. “In these unusual and trying times, we are thrilled to be working to deliver distinct, high quality residences to the market with our valued financial partners and development team.  The setting feels like a breath of fresh air with its parks, open space and ideal waterfront location.”

The property will comprise 534 apartments  —of which 30 percent will be affordable — across three, six-to-eight story buildings and parking for 277 vehicles. Its amenity package is set to include a rooftop pool and grills, a fitness center, resident lounge and a landscaped courtyard. 

Rob Hinckley and Stephen Palmese led JLL’s team in sourcing the JV equity, which also included Jeffrey Julien, Steven Rutman and Nicco Lupo.

Deal parties declined to identify the JV equity provider but one source said that Denver-based UDR, through its Developer Capital Program, is the investor, and this was corroborated through a July press release.

The construction loan, arranged by Meridian’s Adam Hakim and James Murad, features full-term interest-only payments.  

“Cape Advisors’ vision for 30-77 Vernon Boulevard will transform the property into the crown jewel of Astoria waterfront living,” Hakim said. “The property will offer a full-service amenities package, sweeping unobstructed water and Manhattan skyline views, East River ferry access immediately across the street, and convenient shuttle service to surrounding subway stops.” 

 Only last week, Hakim and Murad described some of the complexities of closing construction loans during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 “The fact that both the lender and sponsor were able to move forward with the closing despite the significant change in market dynamics caused as a result of COVID-19 is a testament to the value of the asset and strength and character of the sponsor,” Hakim said. 

As previously reported by CO, Mack Real Estate Credit Strategies provided a $65 million loan to finance Cape Advisor’s acquisition of the block-through waterfront development site in April 2018. 

Representatives for Square Mile weren’t immediately available for comment.