MetLife Makes $550M in Loans for Class A Properties in San Fran, D.C.

MetLife has originated a $300 million loan for San Francisco's Bank of America Center and an additional $250 million in loans for the Washington Square Building in Washington, D.C.

September 30, 2011
By Nicholas Ziegler, News Editor

Bank of America Center Courtesy Wikipedia User Chris Yunker

Adding to its nearly $40 billion CRE portfolio, MetLife Inc. has closed two major transactions: a $300 million loan for the Bank of America Center in San Francisco and a $250 million loan for the Washington Square building in Washington, D.C..

The Bank of America Center is comprised of three office buildings: the 52-story, 1.5 million square foot 555 California Street and a combined 292,000 square feet at 315 and 345 Montgomery Street. Vornado Realty Trust secured a 10-year, $600 million loan on the property, split evenly between MetLife and Pacific Life.

Washington Square, located at 1050 Connecticut Ave. NW, is a 12-story, Class A office building located in the heart of the Central Business District. The landmark building was developed in 1982 and recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation designed by the Washington, D.C., office of Gensler Associates. The building is leased to high quality tenants, including prominent law firms and service companies.

“In 2011, we’ve been very active in originating loans on high quality assets in top-tier markets,” Robert Merck, senior managing director and head of real estate investments for MetLife, said. “We have originated over $8 billion in commercial mortgages to date and continue to look for attractive investment opportunities.”

As Commercial Property Executive reported in its September issue, MetLife and other life-insurance companies have returned to the debt markets strongly. “The insurance companies drew the line when things got frothy the last cycle, and they did not lend much above 65 percent LTV,” said David Twardock, president of Prudential Mortgage Capital Co. One of the reasons why insurance companies are so active through this cycle is because their level of problem loans is much lower, he said. “It is much easier to be active and comfortable in the market when there are not as many problems to deal with.”