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Chicago’s Largest Construction Loan Goes to Luxury Project Vista Tower

The Windy City may not be able to claim quite as many trophy buildings as the Big Apple or quite as much of the financing that makes those buildings possible, but, all the same, Chicago is seeing some pretty high-profile real estate action this year.

Take the 94-story luxury condominium and hotel development project called Vista Tower, which broke ground last year. China’s Ping An Bank issued a $700 million loan this quarter to the project’s developers in what is believed to be the largest construction loan ever issued in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reported last week. The report named the developers as Chicago-based Magellan Development Group and Dalian Wanda Group, Magellan’s investment partner and one of China’s largest commercial property companies.

The core of Vista Tower is located at 363 E. Wacker Drive, and the $1 billion project – which includes 406 units in the condo development and 190 hotel rooms – is expected to be the third-tallest building in Chicago when it’s completed in 2020, the Tribune reported.

Another prominent Chicago property that received financing this year was Willis Tower, the Blackstone-owned iconic skyscraper formerly known as the Sears Tower because it was built in the early 1970s as a central office space for Sears Roebuck and Company.

Goldman Sachs led a syndicate including Bank of America and Citigroup in the $1.02 billion financing of the 110-story office tower at 233 South Wacker Drive, as reported in the Q1 2017 CrediFi Lending Spotlight on Chicago.

Going back a little further, Morgan Stanley, along with Bank of China and Barclays, issued a $675 million loan in September 2016 (most of which was securitized) for a former wholesale warehouse owned by real estate investment trust Vornado. It’s an unusual property in Vornado’s portfolio in that it is located outside New York and Washington, D.C., the REIT’s primary markets.

Merchandise Mart, at 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, is a 4.2 million-square-foot, 25-story art deco building on the northern bank of the Chicago River that takes up two city blocks and is one of the world’s largest commercial buildings.

Built in 1930 by Marshall Field & Co. and renovated in 2007, Merchandise Mart started out as a wholesale design center – a warehouse and showroom center for architectural and interior design vendors, effectively a shopping center with retailers as the consumers – and has also been the site of trade fairs, an international art fair and a retail shopping center called Shops at the Mart.

Vornado has rebranded the building as TheMART and is transforming it into office space whose tenants include technology and telecommunications businesses such as Motorola Mobility, Braintree, and startup incubators 1871 and Matter, as well as Fortune 500 corporations such as ConAgra and Caterpillar. TheMART, which has LEED Gold certification, still houses design showrooms.

To download the entire Lending Spotlight, click here.

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Alex Veksler

Head of Content

Alex Veksler has 16 years of finance, data analysis and project management experience. He is a former vice president at Morgan Stanley, where he worked on product control of equity and fixed-income derivatives products as well as various projects involving finance and technology, such as revamping risk attribution and balance-sheet systems for profits and losses. Alex has previously worked at hedge funds, most recently as a director at Exigent Capital. He has a bachelor’s in computer science from Yeshiva University and an MBA from New York University.

Ely Razin

CEO

Ely Razin founded CrediFi in 2014 with Battery Ventures. A rare combination of seasoned corporate executive and technology entrepreneur, Ely previously served as global head of board governance for Thomson Reuters Accelus and head of business law for Thomson Reuters, after the software company he founded was acquired in 2004. The company, Expert Ease Software, developed AI-based software that automatically summarizes key deal terms for transactions in fields including capital markets, M&A and real estate. Ely began his career as a corporate and securities lawyer, and holds an LLB and MBA from York University.

Frank Muhlon

Head of Transactions

Frank Muhlon oversees CredifX, the commercial real estate financing marketplace that mines the CrediFi database at its core. Prior to joining CrediFi, Frank served as vice president of Northeast region business operations for online CRE property trading platform Ten-X, which has closed over $40 billion in transactions since its inception. He has also held key positions at Orix USA/Houlihan Lokey, Silverstein Properties and Trammell Crow Company. Frank received his master’s degree in real estate finance from New York University and his bachelor’s in finance from Rutgers University.

Charles Mctiernan

Head of Sales

Charles Mctiernan comes to CrediFi from Ned Davis Research Group and Roubini Global Economics, where he was the global head of sales. He also spent more than 10 years at Reuters America Holdings, where he held a number of senior sales leadership roles, including head of solutions sales and head of global accounts. Charles, who received his bachelor’s in economics from East Carolina University, has more than 25 years of experience in technology, data and research sales.

Amichai Levy

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Amichai Levy is the former VP of R&D at Israeli high-tech firm Payoneer, where he developed its signature cross-border payment platform and integrated it with existing bank technology. In his prior role at Ness Technologies, Amichai was a key player in developing an electronic case filing system for Israel’s courts. He has over 20 years of experience in software engineering.

David Fajgman

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David Fajgman brings over 14 years of financial and managerial experience to CrediFi. Prior to joining the CrediFi team, he served as finance director of Bioness Neuromodulation Ltd., which develops and manufactures medical devices involved in neurological rehabilitation. He has previously worked in multiple finance roles at Thomson Reuters and as an accounting and consulting manager at Ernst & Young, where he was responsible for a wide range of clients, including companies listed on the Nasdaq and privately held high-tech companies. David is an Israel-licensed certified public accountant and has a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting.

Liat Bar David

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Liat Bar David has over nine years of human resources experience, primarily focused on the high-tech industry. She is a former HR business partner at semiconductor solutions provider Broadcom, where she was responsible for onboarding processes, benefits, policies, training and development, performance management and employee retention. Liat holds a bachelor’s in communication and human services and a master’s in human resources and services, both from the University of Haifa.