Tag Archive for development financing

Public Private Partnerships Investment and Development Opportunities

Economic reports have shown a stagnant job market and a fairly broad-based contraction in public sector construction during the month of March. This contraction reflects cuts to infrastructure investment structures, now that state and local governments have tightened their belts and the activity of the 2009 Federal fiscal stimulus has played out.

The lack of job and economic growth will continue to impact development activity in most sectors, including public institutions. These institutions cannot (or do not want to) use their tax-exempt bonding capacity to finance real estate assets. Traditional real estate lenders are cautious, have strict underwriting requirements, and in some cases, are using floating rate debt to finance assets. And, the parameters for the CMBS market are still quite conservative.

In order to obtain financing, it may be time to explore non-traditional alternatives. The Credit Tenant Lease form of financing offers a solution through competitively priced, long-term fixed-rate debt
and a faster closing process.  CTL applies to municipal, state, and federal government real estate developments and assets, as well as universities, public schools, healthcare, office, retail and specialty real estate.

CTL loans are based on the investment-grade credit rating of the tenant. The real estate is collateral and secondary in the credit matrix. These loans give owners, developers, and clients with investment-grade credit tenants the opportunity to finance the development and hold the property for the long term. With proceeds up to 100% LTV, and long-term, non-recourse debt, CTL loans minimize equity requirements and limit liability.

The current capital market environment offers an excellent time to take advantage of the benefits offered through the CTL loan program. Each CTL loan is structured as a private placement bond. Investor demand for these bonds exceeds supply, driving down loan spreads. This, in combination with low Treasury rates, has pricing at or near historic lows.

CTL loans offer the following advantages:

•  Loan proceeds up to 100% LTV
•  Non-recourse debt
•  Very competitive rates
•  Long-term, fixed-rate debt
•  Assumable debt on sale or transfer
•  Ability to prepay loan (at make-whole)
•  Rate lock up to 60 days prior to closing
•  Construction/Perm loan opportunity

Mesirow Financial specializes in CTL financing, utilizing direct access to CTL debt sources through its 120-person institutional sales group covering 1,200 institutional accounts.  This coverage facilitates real-time, accurate, and competitive pricing with superior execution.  With these advantages, Mesirow strives to provide its clients with optimal pricing and the most favorable terms.

Garfield Traub has an abundant amount of experience in financing public developments despite the economic downturn throughout the U.S. If you would like to learn more about how your public agency can get your essential developments financed contact Garfield Traub and we will be happy to help.

EB-5 Program – Creating Foreign Investment With Visas

In the interest of fair and balanced reporting, we thought this April 15, 2012 New York Times article by Ann Lee of Demos on “Visas-for-Dollars” is deserving of everyone’s attention.  As our firm intends to be in the market later this year and into next year raising EB-5 funds for a portion of the financing of a new hotel and conference center for a California city, we want to do what we can to draw attention to the need for transparency in all transactions.

Making Visas-for-Dollars Work

By ANN LEE as posted in The New York Times
Published: April 15, 2012

EB-5 Program Creating VisasAMONG the most popular tools for attracting foreign investment to the United States is the EB-5 program. It seems like the perfect win-win: any foreigner who invests between $500,000 and $1 million here, and creates at least 10 domestic jobs from that investment within two years, gets a green card.

Given how many high-worth investors are clamoring to enter the United States, the EB-5 program could have a significant effect on American unemployment. Indeed, it has brought in some $1 billion over the last fiscal year, and the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness has called for the EB-5 program to be “radically” expanded over the next few years.

Unfortunately, the program is so rife with fraud and corruption that it could actually have the opposite impact and deter investment. To regain its credibility, the program must make a number of changes to enable more transparency and demand more competence from its operators.

The most egregious problems with the EB-5 program can be found in its 218 regional centers, which work with private-sector brokers to identify local investments and direct foreign participants to them. Examples abound of centers and brokers playing down risky investments and misrepresenting how the program works, including a promise that EB-5 investments are guaranteed by the federal government — when the government in fact does nothing of the sort. Many investments have failed to create the required 10 jobs and even gone bankrupt, leaving the investor without his money or his green card.

While many EB-5 regional centers have solid records, a disturbing number have directed investor money to risky projects and companies that pay little to no return, overseen by brokers who get a commission regardless of how the investment plays out.

Aside from accusations of outright fraud, there is also a clear lack of understanding among government administrators about how to manage an investment program. As a result, they often approve businesses that are simple to understand, like a condo development or a grocery store, but whose business models don’t generate enough profit to hire workers, while rejecting more sophisticated businesses that stand a greater potential of generating profits and jobs.

For the time being, these problems haven’t turned the tide of interest in the EB-5 program. But that could change: recent high-profile investigations by Reuters and Businessweek, as well as a warning against fraudulent brokers by the Chinese Supreme People’s Court, could start having a significant deterrent effect, especially since other countries, like Canada, are following America’s lead with their own versions of the program.

Fortunately, the solutions are straightforward. The federal government needs to rein in freewheeling brokers with heavier penalties for misrepresenting investments, hire more business-savvy administrators and make the entire process more transparent, so that applicants know why their money was accepted or rejected.

The EB-5 program has a lot of promise to reduce unemployment, and the White House is right to call for its expansion. Rather than end it, let’s fix it.

Ann Lee is a senior fellow at Demos and the author of “What the U.S. Can Learn From China.”

If you would like to see how Garfield Traub Development can help you get your essential developments financed with the EB-5 program, please contact us.

Garfield Traub Public Private Development Group Growing Fast

The term Public Private Development is quickly rising in popularity due to the success of those using Public Private Partnerships to obtain much needed funds to renew government infrastructure, improve transportation, and construct new projects that state, local and Federal governments could not afford before due to budget constraints.

Due to the importance and rapid growth of using Public Private Partnerships in today’s developments, Garfield Traub Development decided to create a Public Private Development group within LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network. The group specializes in helping public/private sector decision makers involved in building developments to network with others in both the decision making and facilitation process of their developments.

“I am extremely happy with what our Public Private Development LinkedIn group has accomplished thus far. The quality of material that has been posted by members has exceeded my expectations,” said Mr. Garfield. “This has turned into such an impactful tool for those like me who are involved in the development process and for those looking for others to assist them in their developments.”

The group was started by Garfield Traub six months ago and already has more than 550 members comprised of public and private sector decision makers specializing in site identification and acquisition, zoning and entitlement, financing, investment, design and construction, leasing, management and asset management, as well as professionals such as general contractors, architects, engineers, specialty consultants, investment bankers, mortgage brokers, lenders and investors.

“Our goals are for professionals to get answers to their questions and for them to have the ability to give answers and suggest resources to help each other to succeed. This is especially important in this economic environment where constrained government budgets have made financing and development of essential facilities quite difficult,” said Mr. Garfield. “It is more important than ever for us to find ways to come together as we emerge from this recession and help each other and our clients succeed.

If you or anyone you know are involved in any part of the commercial real estate development process and would like to contribute or ask questions involving public private partnerships, you too can join Garfield Traub’s Public Private Development group on LinkedIn today for free. For more information on how you can get your public developments financed and completed, please visit the Garfield Traub website.

Developing Hotels Using Stimulus Dollars

Sheraton at the Overland Park Convention Center

Sheraton at the Overland Park Convention Center Overland Park, KS

Many cities are currently in the process of selecting a hotel development team to deliver their essential meeting facilities and hotels and are analyzing the appropriate methodology for development financing. Therefore, it is essential to understand all available federal, state and local financial programs and economic incentives available to provide the turn-key delivery program that is expected by public-sector clients.

First and foremost, municipalities should be aware of Build America Bonds (BABs), which have been available since February 2009. This program was created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, commonly known as the Stimulus Act.

The Stimulus Act provides an alternative method for municipalities to finance capital costs for essential new facilities.  Besides BABs, the Stimulus Act creates Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds, Recovery Zone Facility Bonds and other initiatives, but only BABs are not subject to volume caps and allocations.

One of the best local stimulus approaches is to attract more tourism. The associated local spending and tax revenues generated by annual convention visitors can number from tens of thousands to millions depending on a city’s size. In recent years, cities with convention facilities not supported by modern, connected headquarters hotels have sought to renovate and enlarge or build new convention and meeting facilities, essential to drawing group business to their communities, and many have and are developing the essential, adjacent hotels to ensure success in recruiting groups and events.

BABs currently provide for a federal rebate equal to 35 percent of taxable bond interest payments to a municipal issuer, providing significantly less expensive borrowing than traditional tax-exempt municipal debt, resulting in a more financeable project.  Two municipalities have issued BABs for hotel development financing of their convention center headquarters hotel developments within the past year – Dallas, TX and Franklin County (Columbus), OH.

In order to make Dallas’s new 1,000–room Omni Hotel at the Dallas Convention Center more affordable, it was a goal of the City to achieve a financing rate below 5.5 percent.  Of their $479 million bond offering lead-managed by Citigroup, $388 million was BABs issued at a taxable interest rate of just over 7 percent. However, with the federal 35 percent interest rebate, the net effective interest cost to the City is approximately 4.5 percent.  The use of BABs saved the City of Dallas 150 basis points (1.5 percent) on its then current tax-exempt borrowing rate for comparable maturities, enabling the new headquarters hotel to provide much less taxpayer risk in future operations and debt service costs.

BABs can be utilized not only for public hotels, but for any public facility capital costs which could ordinarily be financed by tax-exempt municipal bonds. The Stimulus Act now provides a vital and meaningful tool allowing municipal governments to access a larger and more efficient bond market to make their own local economic stimulus projects a reality.

Ray Garfield is Principal of Garfield Traub, the nation’s leading development services firm focused exclusively on essential public facilities. Garfield Traub acts as the lead coordinator for all public and public/private project development needs, including financing, design, construction and asset management.  For more than 35 years, Garfield Traub and its principals have financed more than $11 billion in debt and equity and developed more than 30 million square feet of all property types, nationally and abroad.

***IMPORTANT UPDATE: Although the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expired at the end of 2010, Garfield Traub is second to none in providing turnkey financial and development solutions for public/private partnerships (PPP or P3) and public developments using a variety of advantageous funding and financing programs.  For more information on how Garfield Traub can create a hotel development team that will help you quickly deliver your essential development within schedule and budget, call us at 972-991-5200 or e-mail us.

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