Rockrose Lands $293M Permanent Loan for Hudson Yards Resi Tower 

Avison Young negotiated the Fannie Mae financing for the building, which benefits from the now-expired 421a tax exemption, with Wells Fargo as DUS lender.

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Big loan closings are rarer than red diamonds these days, but one deal is bringing the shine this December — and it involves a different kind of Rock. 

An affiliate of Rockrose Development just sealed a $293 million permanent loan for Lyra, a 51-story, 590-unit apartment building at 555 West 38th Street, Commercial Observer can first report. 

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Wells Fargo was the Delegated Underwriting and Servicing (DUS) lender for the five-year, fixed-rate Fannie Mae loan, while Avison Young’s Andrew “Andy” Singer, Scott Singer and Kathleen McSharry led the firm’s tri-state debt and equity finance team in negotiating the loan on behalf of the borrower. 

Lyra was completed in 2022 and benefits from the 421a tax exemption as 30 percent of its units are designated affordable. In addition to its multifamily component, the development includes 2,049 square feet of retail space and 16,000 square feet of amenity space, the latter of which features a fitness center, a squash court, a golf simulator and a landscaped roof terrace. 

The financing retires Wells Fargo’s $255 million construction debt on the Hudson Yards  property, provided in 2019, and also is the latest in decades of transactions between Rockrose and the Avison Young team. 

“We arranged our first loan for Rockrose in 1976,” Andy Singer said in a statement. “In the ensuing 47 years, we have repeatedly delivered market-leading financing for their renowned properties in Manhattan, Long Island City, and Washington D.C.” 

It’s been a difficult 18 months for commercial real estate financings — and that’s putting it lightly — but the aforementioned experience of the deal parties culminated in a successful tying of the bow on this transaction to round out the year. 

“We’ve transacted through hard markets before,” Scott Singer told CO. “We’ve always focused on having clients like Rockrose because they’ve also been through these cycles. They’ve transacted in higher interest rate environments, they’ve had challenges they’ve dealt with, and they’ve thrived. It makes a big difference in environments like this.” 

The commercial real estate business is all about relationships, and “the quality of those relationships — and the sponsor quality — is of critical importance today,” Scott Singer said. “To have the opportunity to be representing Rockrose 47 years into this relationship is just incredible.”

Those long-term relationships are part of the reason why Avison Young nabbed The Singer & Bassuk Organization team back in September 2021, Singer said. 

“When my dad [Andy Singer] did his first deal with Rockrose 47 years ago when they were a new up-and-coming company, it became a model relationship for us,” Scott Singer said. “We look at younger companies now and know what the possibilities are when you work hard and form deep relationships with groups, and then you grow with them.”

Big financings are rare today, but this closing is “a strong statement for the market, and it’s a strong statement for New York,” Scott Singer said. “I also think it’s a statement about the continuing expansion of New York neighborhoods, and the attractiveness of New York City.” 

Wells may have emerged victorious in the financing, but they had some contenders. “There absolutely was competition for this deal,” Scott Singer said. “Much of the market talk today is about macro pullbacks and the lack of financing that’s available, but what we find is that each transaction really stands on its own, and when you have the right confluence of a strong sponsor, a creative broker and a right-sized need? There’s financing available.” 

And Rockrose said it was the “decades of service” from the two Singers and McSharry that sealed the deal for Avison Young.

“The tri-state debt and equity finance team is consistently the most creative, nimble and effective financial intermediaries we have dealt with,” Richard Brancato, COO of Rockrose, said in a statement.  

“The importance of longstanding relationships and the meeting of creative minds led to a successful closing,” said Matthew Wiener of Wells Fargo’s Multifamily Capital group. “Rockrose Development Corp, Fannie Mae, and Wells Fargo are great partners in the business and we thank Avison Young for their valuable assistance. We are proud to have been a part of the financing team and the addition of new affordable housing units to NYC.”

Cathy Cunningham can be reached at ccunningham@commercialobserver.com