Portland’s Historic American Bank Building Lands Refi

With the assistance of JLL Capital Markets, Lionstone Investments and ScanlanKemperBard secured a loan from CIBC, paving the way for the expansion and stabilization of the creative office building.
American Bank Building. Image courtesy of JLL

Joint venture partners Lionstone Investments and ScanlanKemperBard have refinanced the American Bank Building, an approximately 170,400-square-foot creative office property in the central business district of Portland, Ore. With the assistance of JLL Capital Markets, the partners obtained an undisclosed amount of financing for the historic property through CIBC.

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Carrying the address of 621 S.W. Morrison St., the American Bank Building has been at the center of downtown Portland since it first opened its doors in 1913. Since its debut, the 14-story property has maintained its prominence as a desirable office location via a series of upgrades, including extensive renovations in 1936, 1979 and 2012 and additional updates in 2015. Today, the property features approximately 144,500 square feet of office space, 54 percent of which is leased, as well as 24,000 square feet of fully occupied ground floor and mezzanine level retail offerings.

JLL Capital Markets’ Tom Wilson, Colby Mueck and Laura Sellingsloh represented the joint venture in the transaction with CIBC. The American Bank Building, although not currently stabilized, possesses a great many features that likely proved attractive to the lending community, including the solid sponsorship. SKB’s relationship with the American Bank Building dates to 2002, when it first purchased the property. SKB later sold the asset in 2008, before acquiring it again in 2014 in a joint venture with Chilean pension fund Independencia for $45.1 million. In 2017, SKB partnered with Lionstone on the ownership of the asset in a $53 million transaction.

Funding a new phase

SKB and Lionstone plan to utilize proceeds from the refinancing of the American Bank Building to complete tenant improvements at the office tower and invest in capital improvements, most notably the expansion of the building to approximately 176,000 square feet. SKB will also direct funds toward the property’s stabilization.

The Portland office market had a great year in 2018, a solid year in 2019 and a positive beginning to 2020 before taking an unavoidable hit, courtesy of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the second quarter of 2020 brought some rays of positivity, according to a JLL report, with a sizeable State of Oregon lease, as well as tech tenant activity, including Google’s expansion into 80,000 square feet in the central business district.