White Oak Real Estate Capital Lends $63M on Brewery-to-Multifamily Conversion  


As we enter the new year, there’s already a deal worth saying “Cheers!” to. 

Urban Residential Properties, together with The Manhattan Building Company (MBC), just landed a $63 million construction loan to convert the old Neuweiler Brewery in Allentown, Pa., into a Class A multifamily property, Commercial Observer can first report. 

SEE ALSO: Douglaston Development Lands $106M in Construction Financing for Affordable Housing

White Oak Real Estate provided the loan, while CBRE’s Matthew Klauer, Cassandra Russell and Josh Keitelman negotiated the debt. 

Located at 401 North Front Street, the new 283-unit property will be fittingly named Neuweiler Lofts and include 40,000 square feet of retail at its base. 

The revamped building comes with some hoppy history behind it. Neuweiler Brewery, also known as the Germania Brewery, was built in 1912 and was once Allentown’s biggest employer. It shuttered its doors in 1968, and the building has sat vacant since.

“Closing this construction loan in the current environment was all about persistence, so I’m extremely proud of the collaboration with White Oak and my client to get this over the finish line,” CBRE’s Klauer said in prepared remarks. 

The Allentown-based Urban Residential has a decade of experience transacting in the city, and is also currently leading a 25-acre redevelopment of Allentown’s riverfront. 

The company recently completed two residential buildings, Riverview Lofts and Riverfront Lofts, and has commenced construction on Riverview Lofts II. Together with Neuweiler Lofts, these projects comprise Urban Residential’s 10-year master plan for the area. 

Allentown is Pennsylvania’s third-largest city, with close proximity to two airports and easy connection to the I-78 corridor. Ten colleges and universities sit within 10 miles of it. 

“Allentown is in a period of massive transformation and has all of the bones of a great midsized city,” Urban Residential partner John Palumbo said. “I believe Allentown will soon be widely known as one of the best midsized cities in the country. We are proud to be an integral part of its growth.” 

MBC founder Sanford Weiss is also a partner on the conversion project. 

Over the years, Jersey City-based MBC has developed more than $2 billion of real estate projects in its hometown as well as Hoboken, N.J.

Palumbo described Weiss as “an incredible friend, mentor and partner. He’s always believed in our vision for Allentown’s riverfront. While most people thought we were crazy, Sandy thought it was the best redevelopment opportunity he’s seen since Hoboken and Jersey City in the 1980s.” 

Palumbo went on to say that he and Weiss share a passion for real estate and recognize similarities between Allentown’s potential and Jersey City’s successes. 

“We are looking forward to a successful execution of this transformative project, which will create hundreds of jobs for area residents and continue the revitalization of Allentown’s riverfront,” Palumbo said.

He also thanked CBRE and White Oak “for their commitment to us and their resolve to see this challenging financing to its closing.” 

Cathy Cunningham can be reached at ccunningham@commercialobserver.com