Bank OZK Lends $300M on East Cambridge Courthouse Redevelopment

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Bank OZK closed on a deal to provide construction financing for a joint venture’s redevelopment of a 475,000-square-foot, mixed-use office project just outside of Boston, Commercial Observer has learned.

The Little Rock, Ark.-based bank provided a roughly $300 million loan to Leggat McCall Properties and Granite Properties for their planned 20-story development at 40 Thorndike Street in East Cambridge, Mass., which is scheduled for completion in 2023. 

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“Bank OZK is proud to be a part of this incredible project in East Cambridge,” Chris Lawton, executive vice president of originations for Bank OZK’s real estate specialties group, said in a statement. “The Leggat McCall and Granite teams are creating state-of-the-art office space that is much needed in this market. This project will offer companies and their employees a fantastic place to work, and it will be transformative for the neighborhood and community.”

JLL arranged the debt package, which was announced last week by Legatt McCall and Granite without giving the loan amount. The developers also announced that CBRE Global Investors has joined the project as an equity partner on behalf of one of its investment funds. 

“Our partnership with CBRE Global Investors and Bank OZK enables us to deliver truly exceptional, modern office space to the most innovative companies in this global hub of ingenuity,” Rob Dickey, executive vice president and partner at Leggat McCall, said in a statement. “The building’s new terracotta and glass facade along with unencumbered 360-degree views will set the tone for a thriving block that also includes 48 new housing units, onsite childcare, retail and outdoor space.”

Construction first began in 2020 with a cleanup of the building interior, followed by a new facade that was recently installed. The property, which comprises a city block, was formerly home to the Edward J. Sullivan Courthouse.

Leggatt McCall and Granite said they are hoping to attract a major company to house its headquarters in the property’s Class A office space. The building is designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects and is being constructed by John Moriarty & Associates

Development of 40 Thorndike has been a lengthy struggle for Leggatt McCall, which paid the State of Massachusetts $33 million for the state-owned property and then fought neighborhood opposition in the courts. Opponents requested a doubling of the affordable housing units from 24 to 48 and less parking spaces.

“Securing this capital allows us to offer a sustainable, wellness-focused, people-centric work environment designed for collaboration and innovation,” Granite Chief Investment Officer Bill Brown said in a statement. Located just a few blocks from Kendall Square, 40 Thorndike’s one-of-a-kind, Class-A office space will be attractive to top talent and businesses serving the area’s most prominent global tech and life science companies.”

Andrew Coen can be reached at acoen@commercialobserver.com.