The Singer & Bassuk Organization, which represents commercial real estate developers, owners and investors in their dealings with lenders, has arranged for $240 million in financing for the purchase of 70 Pine Street.
As REW previously reported, the former AIG headquarters building was purchased by a joint venture between developer-owner Nathan Berman’s Metro Loft and Eastbridge Sarl for a reported $205 million.
The loan was made to an entity known as EBNB, an acronym for Eastbridge and Nathan Berman, according to a spokeswoman for the buyers.
Andy Singer and Kathleen McSharry, respectively chairman and senior managing director of Singer & Bassuk, advised and represented EBNB over a number of months on the acquisition financing.
EBNB intends to convert the vacant, million-square-foot office tower to a luxury residential rental building with about 1,000 units.
Demolition is expected to begin shortly, architectural plans are being drawn, and The Singer & Bassuk Organization will soon represent EBNB in arranging for construction financing for the $500 million project.
“This property has a storied history, and now it is time for its next iteration,” Singer said, noting that the project will not receive any real estate tax incentives from the city.
It is the largest rental conversion in lower Manhattan since the end of the 421g tax abatement program and one of the largest conversions ever undertaken.
“Our clients fervently believe that luxury rental housing is the right product at the right time, and the lending community apparently agreed with their judgment.”
McSharry added: “These financing deals are sophisticated and require thought and consideration. Here, you have a top-name developer and a top-name building with an interesting history and a bright future.”
She noted that the $240 million consisted of a $170 million first loan, provided by a pension fund, and a $70 million mezzanine piece provided by a European insurance company.
At 952 feet above lower Manhattan — the equivalent of 95 stories — the building, the sixth-tallest in New York City, is a 28-sided Art Deco tower.
Completed in 1932, the building features a lobby comprised of colored marbles and multi-colored Art Deco stucco and metal work. The renovation of the building will generate Historic Tax Credits as the developers intend to maintain the aesthetically and historically important architectural features throughout the landmarked structure.
Originally topped by a glass-walled observation deck with a 360-degree vista, the building affords spectacular views of the city.
When the building served as headquarters for American International Group (AIG), the company’s chairman, Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, maintained a private dining room in the observation deck. The dining room was accessible by a five-passenger private elevator that emerged from the floor of the deck. The elevator allowed its passengers to exit before descending, hidden beneath a trap door until called for further use.
Herrick, Feinstein real estate partners Carl Schwartz and Laurie Grasso led the legal team that represented EBNB.
The first-mortgage lender was advised by EMMES and Larry Davis of the Shorewood Real estate group, and represented by the law firm Greenberg Traurig.