One Week, Nearly One Billion in Deals for Morrison & Foerster

Morrison & Foerster's real estate group this week alone has represented three deals to the tune of nearly $1 billion and its chairman says Manhattan continues "bucking the trend" in CRE.

November 4, 2011
By Nicholas Ziegler, News Editor

The One57 Development

It’s been the busiest of busy weeks for Morrison & Foerster, as the law firm’s real estate group has completed some huge deals in New York City. Monday saw the firm represent Bank of America in a $700 million syndicated construction loan to Extell Development Co. – in what sources are calling “the largest single-property construction financing in the U.S. in 2011” – for the development of the 90-story Park Hyatt Hotel and residential condominium tower on West 57th Street in Manhattan.

Additionally, the firm helped Bank of America in its $160 million financing to Edward J. Minksoff for the development of 51 Astor Place, a trophy 400,000 square foot office building in New York, as well as CIBC in a $110 million mortgage refi for the 30-story Sofitel on West 44th Street, a building co-owned by Gem Realty and Whitehall Capital.

Mark Edelstein, chair of the firm’s global real estate finance group, told Commercial Property Executive that Manhattan is “bucking the trend” when it comes to the city’s attractiveness to investors. “New York,” he said, “and a few other cities such as [Washington] D.C., Chicago and San Francisco, seem different from many, if not most other areas of the U.S., which are still feeling depressed. Manhattan remains the financial capital of the world.”

While Bank of America is lead lender on the One57 project on West 57th, a consortium of other domestic and foreign investors are involved as well, including Capital One, Banco Santander, Abu Dhabi International Bank and Bank of Nova Scotia.

“Despite the softness in many sectors of the national real estate market, some key geographies remain vibrant and we are fortunate to be right in the middle of the busiest corridors, working alongside the leading lenders, developers and investors,”  Marc Young, a partner in Morrison & Foerster’s Los Angeles office, said. “Clearly, the transactions we’ve handled in recent months demonstrate that substantial financing remains available for the right projects and sponsors. And the pipeline looks promising for more deals ahead, including a number of international financings.”