Joint Venture Nabs $68M Construction Loan on Luxe Rental Project in Connecticut

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Sculptor Real Estate, a fund vehicle managed by global asset manager Sculptor Capital Management, has provided $68 million in construction debt to a joint venture between Norwalk, Conn.-based Spinnaker Real Estate Partners and residential developer Eastpointe, Commercial Observer has learned. 

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The loan will fund the development of Canfield Park at Fairfield Metro, a luxury multifamily property in Bridgeport, Conn. The property will comprise two, mid-rise residential buildings, standing at five and six stories, and a 500-space parking garage. The financing closed in late October. 

The developers have already broken ground on the project and hope to begin to deliver the 300-unit project to market in the first quarter of 2022, Spinnaker Chairman, CEO and Principal Clayton Fowler told CO. He said the five-story portion of the property will be the first to start leasing at the start of 2022, with the second, six-story portion expected to be delivered around four months later. 

JLL’s Christopher Peck, Peter Rotchford, Kristen Knapp and Rob Root sourced and arranged the debt on behalf of the borrowers. 

“This project will be highly attractive to families transitioning to a more suburban lifestyle, as well as to empty nesters downsizing from large, single-family homes to modern rental properties,” Rotchford said in a statement. “The Bridgeport market has seen a large influx of New York City residents since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, and this property is well-positioned to benefit from the shift in renter preferences.”

Spinnaker will handle leasing and property management, while development will be spearheaded by Eastpointe, a development firm led by Bryan Robik and Bill Finger, in what is a “true 50/50 joint venture,” according to Fowler, who added that Finger has been a partner of and investor in Spinnaker for “many years.” 

The asset will sport studio, one- and two-bedroom residences that average 850 square feet, according to JLL, and there will also be 20,000 square feet of amenities on-site. Its location will be next to the Fairfield Metro-North Railroad train stop, along the New Haven line, as well as Interstate 95, a major highway artery that stretches across the East Coast. 

“We’ve been working to put this together for quite some time,” Fowler said. “It was scheduled to close at the beginning of COVID, and it became a casualty. So, we’ve taken these last six to seven months to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, and we were able to do that.”

Fowler added that the most disappointing aspect of the process was that Spinnaker and Eastpointe were in “ready, set, go” mode prior to COVID, and then, their previous construction lender abruptly pulled out of the transaction following the onset of the pandemic. 

Fowler said the joint venture’s motivation for wanting to build the asset “still holds today,” given the demand and its location along the commuter rail line. 

“It’s well-located and one can take advantage of what Fairfield has to offer,” Fowler said. “We bought the land relatively opportunistically — we made a fair deal on it — and if you buy land correctly, your chances for success are much better. With folks having discovered that they don’t have to live in New York City to still maintain a relationship with [it], [this construction] job is more favored now. We’re very excited about putting it together.”