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Bank Doors Opening

Bank Doors Opening
Bankers that have long been banging on doors looking for jobsare finally being brought back into the fold, according to the few dozen finance types attending RELA New England?s breakfast at the BC Club yesterday. Since step one in filling up the lending pipeline is to hire lenders, this bodes well for CRE, says chapter prez and US Bank VP David Heller.
Samuels &  Associates? Joel Sklar
Developers who spoke at the event, like Samuels & Associates?Joel Sklar (above) and HYM Investment?s Tom O?Brien, agree. Samuels, with its equity on the table, is looking for debt financing and planning a Q4 construction start on the $250M Boylston Westdevelopment. Joel tells us the new residential/retail project with 225k SF of Class-A offices is the tipping point in Samuels? 19-year effort to build a neighborhood in the Fenway, once dominated by parking lots, aged industrial buildings, and fast food restaurants. Other major milestones include the ?04 up-zoning of the area from FAR 2 to FAR 5-7 and Samuels? construction of the upscaleTrilogy rental apartments in ?06. With rents now pushing $3.50/SF, recession concessions are gone and rates rose 5% to 10% in the past year.
Tom O?Brien
Tom O?Brien says that the timing is right for new construction at the long-stalled North Point project that he and his capital partners purchased last year. But David Heller says construction isn't likelyto start until next year at the 5M SF mixed-use project—aftersubstantial pre-leasing. Clearly, apartment-side financing is available but office or retail money is more difficult to come by. Before dipping into that pot, David says, Tom needs to land some tenants. David also says that large syndication groups of six or seven banks probably won't re-emerge. More likely, he tells us, there will be smaller groups of two or three banks.
Property Resources? Andrew Klopfer and New Boston Fund?s Dan McGrath
During breakfast we snapped Property Resources? Andrew Klopfer and New Boston Fund?s Dan McGrath. Andrew tells us that as a multifamily investor, PR is looking mostly downtown foracquisitions and investments. But the continuing dearth of product for sale means prices are high and his group hasn?t made a purchase lately. Dan, on the other hand, says NBF has beenbuying office properties in Miami and Orlando at deep discounts. At the same time, New Boston has also been selling office and industrial assets to harvest gains on the high prices being paid for core assets.