Lonicera Partners, Rabina Land $128M Loan and JV Equity for 55 Willoughby

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Lonicera Partners and Rabina’s luxury multifamily development in Downtown Brooklyn just secured a $128 million loan and a joint venture equity investment, Commercial Observer can first report. 

Santander Bank and City National Bank provided the loan for 55 Willoughby, property records show, while The Davis Companies provided the JV equity. JLL (JLL) Capital Markets negotiated the capitalization. 

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The foundations have already been poured at 55 Willoughby, which when completed will comprise 268,000 square feet and include 295 multifamily units as well as 3,500 square feet of retail space. The project also benefits from a 421a tax abatement, so 89 of the building’s residences will be affordable. 

The developers are targeting students and younger renters with the unit mix. Its 12,000-square-foot amenity package is also nothing to be sneezed at, with 12,000 square feet of social and recreational space, including a gym, a yoga studio, a media room, a rooftop terrace and coworking space. 

Lonicera acquired 55 Willoughby Street, once home to the International Charter School of New York, plus additional air rights in December 2021, filing plans for the mixed-use project in January 2022, New York Yimby reported. Colberg Architecture was hired to create its glass and porcelain veneer, which will give residents panoramic views over Brooklyn. 

JLL’s Jeffrey Julien, Chris Peck, Nicco Lupo, Rob Hinckley, Geoff Goldstein, Marko Kazanjian and Alex Staikos.

55 Willoughby will be one of the last beneficiaries of the 421a tax abatement program in New York City,” Julien said in prepared remarks. “The supply pipeline in Brooklyn is projected to significantly taper off, and there will be very limited competing product once this new luxury tower delivers.”

“This transaction aligns two best-in-class sponsors with astute capital providers who recognize an opportunity to invest in a rare development in a high barrier to entry market. We’re thrilled with the results,” Peck said.

55WILLOUGHBY3 Lonicera Partners, Rabina Land $128M Loan and JV Equity for 55 Willoughby
Credit: JLL

Davis’ JV investment marks the company’s latest addition to its increasing New York portfolio. Its self-storage portfolio at 155-165 West 29th Street — being developed with Highland Development Ventures — is now nearing completion, and last year the firm snapped up a multistory warehouse facility at 58-30 Grand Avenue in Maspeth, Queens, from Affinius Capital — formerly Square Mile Capital— and Innovo Property Group

And when it comes to the debt, Lonicera also tapped Santander and CNB as construction lenders for its multifamily property at 15 Hanover Place — a mere five minutes walk from 55 Willoughby — with the duo providing $134 million for the project.

55 Willoughby is in Downtown Brooklyn near the corner of Willoughby and Jay streets, steps away from the Jay Street-MetroTech station on the A, C, F and R trains.

Officials at Lonicera, Rabina and CNB couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Santander officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Cathy Cunningham can be reached at ccunningham@commercialobserver.com