James Millon and Tom Traynor

James Millon and Tom Traynor

Co-Heads of Large Loans in the U.S. at CBRE

Last year's rank: 15

James Millon and Tom Traynor
By April 30, 2023 8:59 AM

In a year when the capital markets were more jittery than a cat in a dog park, CBRE’s James Millon and Tom Traynor had their work cut out for them securing large loans for some of the industry’s top sponsors.

As the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) single asset single borrower (SASB) market largely dried up and banks balked at taking on syndication risk, the era of the megadeals slowed. Unintimidated, the duo leaned further into their deep capital markets experience and expertise to shepherd deals across the finish line — for example, by arranging bank syndicates on the front end, and eliminating syndication risk for skittish lenders.

Doing what they do best, the team closed $7 billion in deals across 41 transactions.

“We have a lot of opportunities in front of us,” Millon said. “Given our experience and track record, there isn’t a shortage of deals to work on. That said, we’ve had to be pretty selective and focus on our core clients, and the reason for that is these deals take an incredible amount of time, effort and resources to get done today.”

Large loans are the pair’s forte. And, yet, while only a year ago a $350 million loan could be easily closed with one lender, the times, they are a-changin’, and lenders’ sweet spot is now around the $100 million mark. Meeting lender appetites, the team is now doing twice as many deals in that smaller range — with the majority of mandates being refinances or recapitalizations given the slowdown in acquisitions.

That’s not to say that no big deals were closed by the team this past year.

There was the $440 million, 15-year loan arranged for Deerfield Management’s life sciences property at 345 Park Avenue. A single-source execution, the property’s 350,000-square-foot size meant AIG’s basis in the deal was more than $1,000 a square foot. “That deal you could not replicate in today’s market — not even close,” Traynor said.

Then, there was the $1.7 billion equity recapitalization and debt financing for Medical Property Trust’s portfolio of eight inpatient acute care hospitals in Massachusetts. CBRE arranged a $990 million loan from Apollo and brought in Macquarie Infrastructure Partners V as a JV equity partner. “Apollo had the ability to leverage health care professionals within its network that understood the underlying fundamentals of not only for-profit hospitals in general, but these specific hospitals and this specific tenant,” Traynor said.

Then, there was Project Nexus, a $319 million data center acquisition financing executed in the CMBS SASB market on behalf of GI Partners, which Traynor describes as “a fantastic deal, but one that caught right when rates were really starting to run.” With uncertainty around base rates and spread, Traynor and Millon were on the phone with the sponsor three times a day for three weeks, navigating the interest rate environment and the different implications.

Diversity and inclusion remains a key focus for the team, and 25 percent of the team is female. Broadly speaking, the brokerage continues to add diversity in its most senior roles. Rachel Vinson was recently promoted to president of capital markets. Additionally, Kelli Carhart was recently promoted to head of multifamily capital markets. Vinson and Carhart are the first women to hold those roles at CBRE. —C.C.

More articles about power finance 2021, Power Finance 2023