Big loans are back for real estate | Crain’s | Chappaqua Luxury Properties

Funding for real estate projects in the city is flowing again, with many developers taking advantage of the improving environment to refinance properties, according to Real Capital Analytics’ ranking of the top financing deals, which appears in this week’s Crain’s.

Out of the Top 35 deals done in the past 12 months, 24 were refinancings. The remainder were new loans taken out for acquisitions.

The largest loan made in the past 12 months was an $800 million refinancing done in September 2010 for 245 Park Ave. Brookfield Asset Management and ING Clarion tapped into Bank of China for the deal. It was followed by Boston Properties’ $700 million loan from MetLife for the Citigroup Center at 153 E. 53rd St. in March. The third-largest was a $650 million refinancing of One Bryant Park in June by Bank of America, which owns the building in partnership with The Durst Organization.

“We’re seeing big loans again,” said Dan Fasulo, managing director of Real Capital Analytics. “It’s a very healthy sign that liquidity has returned to the market place.”

As a measure of that phenomenon, even the smallest of the Top 35 financings done in the past 12 months was for in excess of $100 million. It was the $110 million refinancing of 200 Water St., arranged for Rockrose Development Corp. by Freddie Mac.

The composition of lenders was highly eclectic. Bank of China took the honors of doing the biggest transaction and also loaned $110 million to SL Green Realty Corp. and CPP Investment Board for the refinancing of Manhattan Tower at 600 Lexington Ave. Several U.S. banks, including Bank of America, Wachovia, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, also featuring prominently on the list, as did several German institutions, such as DekaBank, WestImmo and Deutsche Bank.

There were also some surprises in the data.

“For all the talk of the investment banks not lending, there are a lot of them in this list, including foreign banks,” Mr. Fasulo said. “The insurance companies have also been very active lately.”

Among those was MetLife, which was behind two of the Top 10 transactions; and Pacific Life Insurance Co., which helped SL Green and New York State Teachers’ Retirement System refinance 919 Third Ave. with a $500 million loan done at the end of March.

Although most of the top transactions were office related, there were five apartment refinancings. Fannie Mae provided funding for two deals, including the $175 million loan for Lands End I at 265-275 Cherry St. in Manhattan, while Freddie Mac provided $133 million to refinance an apartment tower at 4720 Center Blvd. in Long Island City, Queens.

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