Clarion Gets $150M in Financing for 1.3 MSF Office Park in Norwalk, Conn.

An ownership entity managed by Clarion Partners has secured $150 million in financing for the 1.4 million-square-foot Merritt 7, an office park in Norwalk, Conn.

Merritt 7

An ownership entity managed by Clarion Partners has secured $150 million in financing for the 1.4 million-square-foot Merritt 7, an office park in Norwalk, Conn. Clarion relied on commercial real estate and capital markets services provider HFF to arrange the financing through CIBC World Markets.

Providing financing for Merritt 7 was an opportunity many lenders could not resist. “We had interest from Banks, both domestic and international, life insurance companies and CMBS lenders,” Riaz Cassum, senior managing director with HFF, told Commercial Property Executive.

The Class A complex consists of six seven-story structures planted on 22 acres along the Norwalk River. Developed between 1980 and 1990, the buildings vary in size from 208,000 and 246,000 square feet, and together, are 90.5 percent leased. And all efforts are being made to ensure that the property’s reputation as one of the top office parks in Fairfield County continues to hold; in September 2012, Clarion announced the commencement of a multi-year capital improvement program.

“[Lenders were attracted to] the performance history of the office park, sponsorship (Clarion and a separate account client), size of the transaction and the conservative leverage,” said Cassum. The financing for Merritt 7 came in the form of a floating-rate loan, the proceeds of which will be utilized to refinance existing debt on the asset.

The office sector may still be playing second fiddle to multi-family in terms of lender preference, but it’s still relatively high on the radar and moving up higher. “There has been interest in office product for the right asset with good sponsorship in a strong market for a while [and] as the employment market improves, desire for office lending will continue to increase,” Cassum added.