MetLife CRE Lending Tops $14B in 2015

MetLife Inc.'s real estate investment group hit $14.3 billion in CRE lending in 2015, a record for the insurance giant.

By Scott Baltic, Contributing Editor

Robert Merck, MetLife
Robert Merck, Senior Managing Director & Global Head of Real Estate Investments, MetLife

Through its real estate investment group, MetLife Inc. originated about $14.3 billion globally in CRE loans in 2015, which was an 18 percent increase over the $12.1 billion originated the previous year, according to a summary released Jan. 26 by MetLife. It was also a record for MetLife’s portfolio, the company confirmed to CPE.

“Adhering to our strategy of investing in major markets with robust fundamentals, MetLife not only strengthened its position as a leader in commercial mortgage lending, but we also grew our annual loan production to a record size,” Robert Merck, senior managing director and global head of real estate investments for MetLife, told CPE.

Merck added that he also anticipates continued growth this year for MetLife Investment Management, the company’s institutional asset management business. In 2015, only its third year in operation, MIM originated about $1.1 billion in commercial mortgage loans for institutional clients.

Internationally, MetLife expanded its lending in 2015 and originated CRE loans of more than $1.6 billion in the United Kingdom and more than $200 million in Mexico.

MetLife’s CRE loan originations of $150 million and above in 2015 exhibited the diversification that the company intends to continue and include:

  • $505 million first mortgage on the Loews Universal Orlando Hotel Portfolio, collateralized by three AAA Four Diamond resorts in Orlando, Fla.
  • $400 million first mortgage on Columbia Center, a Class A office tower in Seattle.
  • Lead lender and $333 million participation in a $1 billion mortgage loan on Mall at Short Hills, a super-regional mall in Short Hills, N.J.
  • $276 million first mortgage on Oak Park Mall, an upscale regional mall in Overland Park, Kan.
  • $261 million investment in a $691 million term loan facility secured by a pool of loans in the U.K.
  • $255 million first leasehold mortgage on 1675 Broadway, a Class A office building in New York.
  • $228 million first mortgage on 123/151 Buckingham Palace Road, two office properties in London’s West End.
  • $215 million participation in a $430 million first mortgage on Park Place, an office and retail campus in Irvine, Calif.
  • $210 million first mortgage on Towers at Williams Square, four Class A+ office buildings in Irving, Texas.
  • $175 million first mortgage on Eastown Apartments, a Class A mid-rise apartment community in Hollywood, Calif.

On the equity side, whether through direct acquisition or as part of joint-venture partnerships, MetLife’s five largest equity real estate transactions in 2015 were:

  • Park Tower, a 737,000-square-foot office development in San Francisco, for $340 million.
  • Shinjuku 3-chrome Building, a 67,000-square-foot retail property in Tokyo, for $170 million.
  • Park District/2101 Pearl, a 815,500-square-foot, mixed-use development in Dallas, for $98 million.
  • Osaka Marubeni Building, a 245,000-square-foot office property in Osaka, Japan, for $88 million.
  • Vu New River, a 209-unit apartment development in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for $52.5 million.