March 21, 2018
Transaction Description: George Smith Partners arranged an 80% acquisition financing for a large office building in Monterey Park, California. The sponsor for this transaction was a religious institution who was acquiring the property to serve as its main campus for community service and fundraising events. The religious institution previously operated its community service and fundraising events out of several smaller locations in Orange County, but needed to consolidate into one larger main campus. Fixed for 10 years at 6.75%, the acquisition loan represented 80% of the property’s value and is recourse to an entity. The loan amortizes over 30 years and has a 5,4,3,2,1 prepayment penalty.
Challenges: Conventional lenders could not get comfortable with the transaction because of the niche religious use of the property. The owner-user element further complicated the deal. Many lenders also struggled because the large office building sat vacant for many years and there was no warm body guarantor. The religious institution also required a highly leveraged loan to complete the purchase of the office building.
Solution: George Smith Partners understood the unique aspects of this transaction and ultimately identified a community development lender who was comfortable with both the religious use and the owner-user component of this deal. GSP also structured the transaction to be recourse to the entity, giving the lender further comfort with the deal. GSP was able to push leverage to 80% of the purchase price.
February 7, 2018
George Smith Partners arranged $3,700,000 in construction financing to develop 15,860 square feet of retail and office in Old Town Temecula, California. The developer plans to lease the ground and second floor with retail tenants and reserve the 3rd floor for office tenants. The challenges of the financing included the use of EB-5 equity in a spec development within a tertiary market. Our Sponsor desired financing without pre-leasing requirements to take advantage of the demand for this dynamic location during construction. Significant market interest from prospective tenants proved the thesis to the capital provider on a speculative basis.
December 13, 2017
George Smith Partners secured $1,950,000 for the refinance of an office building in the San Fernando Valley. The owners had purchased the property all cash six months prior and were seeking to recapture a portion of their equity. The ownership structure involved 4 businesses, 5 Trusts, and 7 individuals, all of whom had to go through the documentation process. Although the bank required full recourse from all of the Trusts, they were willing to waive repayment guarantees to some of the individuals behind the Trusts. Fixed for 20 years at 4.43%, the recourse loan was sized to 75% of the total capitalization. Amortization commences on a 20-year schedule and has a 5-year stepdown prepayment penalty.
November 29, 2017
George Smith Partners arranged $8,800,000 for the refinance of two multi-tenant office buildings located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. GSP identified a capital provider that would accommodate the existing credit challenges of the borrower. Initially the financing included a third property that added lease roll mitigation. When the third property was dropped, the loan was extended to a 30-year amortization and a reserve trigger was created to deal with potential roll-over risk from numerous month-to-month leases and leases with termination rights.
Rate: 5.1% Fixed
Term: 10-year Term
Amortization: 30 years
- Advisors: J.Jay Brooks
August 29, 2017
George Smith Partners secured $11,600,000 of refinance loan proceeds with a national balance sheet lender for 74,911 square feet of office space in the San Gabriel Valley, approximately 25 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. Acquired by our Sponsor two years ago, several capital providers questioned the spike in value without the benefit of a significant capital upgrade program. The property had several vacant suites at the time of the Sponsor’s purchase. At the time of the refinance, over 80% of the leases were rolling within 5 years. GSP demonstrated that the Sponsor had added several new leases since acquisition, including an urgent care center and a retail bank branch. Our Sponsor successfully signed the new leases at market rents while re-signing existing tenants at higher rental rates. Rollover risk was reduced by the low leverage loan request and the sponsor’s excellent tenant retention record. Ownership is structured as Tenants In Common (TIC). Our capital provider accepted the TIC borrower structure and only underwrote individuals with ownership over 20%. Fixed at 3.6% for five years, the loan was sized to 60% of value and will amortize over 25 years. Prepayment is yield maintenance. There was no origination fee and the portfolio lender paid for all third party reports including title and escrow.
June 27, 2017
George Smith Partners secured $9,050,000 of refinance loan proceeds with a national balance sheet lender for a 47,000 square foot medical office building in the San Gabriel Valley, approximately 25 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. Fixed at 3.51% for five years and sized to 60% of value, the loan will amortize over 25 years and carries a yield maintenance prepayment penalty. There was no origination fee and the portfolio lender paid for all third party reports.
The property is owned under a Tenants-In-Common (TIC) structure, precluding most capital providers from funding the non-single purpose borrower. The TIC ownership also created a need for extensive documentation on all investors. Our secondary market location and nearest hospital located eight miles from the subject added additional drag on the refinance request.
Our balance sheet capital provider accepted the TIC structure subject to underwriter all individuals with ownership over 20%. Historical financial data documented the remarkable stability of cash flow with medical office tenants despite not being adjacent to a hospital. GSP surveyed the market and demonstrated that although the property was not located near a hospital, it offered medical providers and services that were unique to the area. This resulted in high patient volume and long-term tenants.
$5,100,000 Non-Recourse Bridge to Reposition an Industrial Building to Creative Office for a Single, Non-Credit Tenant
June 21, 2017
George Smith Partners arranged $5,100,000 of non-recourse, bridge financing to complete the conversion of a 26,000 square foot, 100% vacant, 1920’s vintage, industrial building into creative office space in a major Southwestern city. The property is well-located near a central business district and is 100% preleased to a single, non-credit-rated tenant. Although not investment-grade, GSP was able to source a Capital Provider comfortable with the tenant’s financial history and business operations. The sponsor acquired the property with cash and proceeds will be used to complete the conversion, taking advantage of the growing creative office market.
$35,000,000: $25,200,000 “Non-Recourse” Credit Facility and $9,800,000 in JV Equity Financing for 97,440 SF Creative Office Conversion with Ground Floor Retail in Downtown Los Angeles
May 31, 2017
George Smith Partners secured $35,000,000 in capital for the conversion of the Norton Building, located in the Fashion District of Downtown Los Angeles. The capital is going to be used to convert the existing mixed-use asset into creative office space with ground floor retail. The $35,000,000 was comprised of a $25,200,000 non-recourse credit facility, which was split into a $12,900,000 term loan fully funded at time of closing and a delayed draw term loan of up to $12,300,000 for tenant improvements and leasing commissions. Additionally, the capital stack was topped off with $9,800,000 in joint venture equity financing which was also arranged by GSP.
The project was one of the first of its kind in the sub-market and GSP needed to ensure capital providers were comfortable with the demand for creative office tenants within this sub-market of Downtown Los Angeles.
George Smith Partners was able to demonstrate the market demand for creative office space via recent leasing trends within the sub-market. Additionally, GSP leveraged off of preliminary negotiations the Sponsor had with potential tenants in order to demonstrate the demand for creative office space at this location.
May 17, 2017
George Smith Partners successfully arranged $80,000,000 in permanent refinancing for a Class A, high-rise, trophy asset office building in a primary market in California. Sized to 32% of appraised value and a 1.78 DCR, the 10 year interest only loan is priced at 2.19% over the 10 year SWAP Rate. The building was situated on an unsubordinated ground lease, which presented challenges. While the property was widely recognized as a trophy asset in the market, the building had low occupancy and above market rents. GSP sourced a capital provider who underwrote the property with an emphasis on gross potential rent as evidenced by Sponsor’s confidence and willingness for occupancy growth with more aggressive pricing of rents. This allowed the lender to get comfortable with the low occupancy along with strong debt coverage on in place cash flow.
70% Leverage Non-Recourse Refinance of a 65% Occupied Office Complex with Single Tenant Concentration and Rollover Risk at Loan Maturity
May 3, 2017
GSP arranged $16,510,000 in non-recourse first mortgage financing from a national debt fund on a 65% occupied Class A office complex in North San Diego County, California. A credit tenant with a 2022 lease expiration accounts for over 90% of current property income and the vacancy is mostly comprised of a single 26,000 square foot contiguous space.
GSP marketed the transaction by filtering out vacant spaces that were not competitive with the subject property and highlighted the lack of large customizable available spaces in the market which the subject property possessed. GSP sourced a lender familiar with the local office inventory and recognized the leasing potential of a large customizable floor plate in a market with increasing demand for corporate headquarter space.
In order to maximize Sponsor cash flow, the loan is structured as interest only with a three year initial term and two one-year extension options. To mitigate rollover risk at loan maturity, a cash flow sweep commences if the existing credit tenant does not exercise an early lease renewal by month 30 of the loan term. $14,750,000 in loan proceeds funded at closing with an additional $1,760,000 funding for lease-up related tenant improvements and leasing commissions to be disbursed prior to month 24 of the loan. Interest on the future funding is not charged until the earlier of disbursement of proceeds or month 24 of the loan. The first mortgage debt priced over one-month LIBOR and required a LIBOR cap with a 3.00% strike price for the initial term.
Term: Three years plus two 12-month extensions
Amortization: Interest Only (initial term and extensions)
Max Loan to Value: 70% Initial, 65% stabilized
Prepayment: 15 months spread maintenance, open thereafter
Lender Fee: 1.00%
April 26, 2017
George Smith Partners arranged $5,500,000 in acquisition proceeds on a 15,122 square foot Los Angeles office building. Floating at Prime + 0.5%, the 3 year loan is interest only for 18 months before amortizing over 25 years for the balance of the term. Sized to 65% of the purchase price, there is no prepayment penalty for this loan.
Despite the prime location, the subject had somewhat aged interiors and exteriors and was just 70% occupied when our Sponsor executed the purchase contract. The income was below break-even debt coverage on the proposed loan. Most of the in-place tenants were paying well below market rent. One tenant was under a month to month lease and several others were facing lease roll in the next six months. On-site property management was charging an above market rate. Actual historical cash flow was well below potential.
GSP researched comparable rent and competitive operating data that proved out our Sponsor’s pro forma rents and business plan. Our Sponsor’s considerable success adding value to similar office properties over the past several years supported the business plan for the loan request. An aggressive lease campaign was initiated during due diligence, securing letters of intent from multiple tenants that would bring occupancy to 95%. A small debt service reserve was structured until the tenants took occupancy to cover all operating loss and mortgage expenses in the short interim.
$7,350,000 Non-Recourse Pre-Development Financing on a Predominantly Vacant West LA Office & Retail Building
March 28, 2017
George Smith Partners arranged a $7,350,000 non-recourse loan to 75% of appraised value from a national debt fund to finance the pre-development period of an existing 12,500 square foot, West Los Angeles office and retail building. Despite having very low occupancy, the lender was able to advance $588 per square foot after GSP demonstrated the superior location of the asset and experience of the Sponsor in development. The lender structured a 12-month interest and carry reserve as the Sponsor vacates the remaining in-place tenants in order to implement its business plan of eventually razing the existing improvements and building a new, high-end, multi-tenant retail building. Loan proceeds were priced at 9.50% fixed for the 18-month loan duration, and interest expense is not incurred on the interest and carry reserve until drawn.