Black Bear Acquires Pennsylvania Luxury Apartment Development

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Black Bear Asset Management (BBAM) has acquired a 50 percent common equity interest in a planned $25 million Pennsylvania multifamily development owned by Ashley Development Corporation, Commercial Observer has learned.

The brokerage firm joined forces with Ashley Development as part of a new joint venture partnership for the developer’s Sullivan Parke property in Easton, Pa. — slated to open in summer 2022. Through the JV, BBAM will focus on investing capital while Ashley will act as the property developer and operator along with providing capital on future deals.

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Emil DePasquale of Black Bear Capital Partners (BBCP) arranged the financing package.

“We are delighted to be a part of the rapidly growing market of the Lehigh Valley, specifically through the creation of our relationship with Ashley Development and their portfolio of properties across multiple asset classes,” Bryan Manz, senior managing director at BBAM, said in a statement. “After analysis of the Lehigh Valley market, we looked for a scalable opportunity and a best-in-class partner within the industry.”

Ashley first acquired the land for Sullivan Parke in 2017 when it was zoned for commercial usage only. It subsequently received zoning approval for multifamily housing. 

In addition to being the primary equity source, BBAM also acted in an advisory capacity for the project by arranging a $19.8 million construction loan from Churchill Real Estate through its subsidiary, BBCP.  It also provided subordinated debt of up to an 80 percent loan-to-cost ratio on an interest-only basis for the development.

Located at 2280 Lafayette Park Drive five miles from Lafayette College, Sullivan Parke is a luxury multifamily complex comprised of four apartment buildings containing 102 units on roughly 119,000 square feet over 6.97 acres. The property’s amenities include fitness center, lounge with balcony, outdoor grilling areas, bench seating and dog walk.

Officials for Ashley Development did not immediately return a request for comment.

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