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With Presidential Towers Refinance, Waterton Zags Where Others Have Zigged

Presidential Towers, Chicago

Add Presidential Towers to the growing list of real estate refinancings. Waterton and its partner in the development, CalSTRS, landed a 10-year, $250M loan from Barings Real Estate Advisors for one of the West Loop's earliest multifamily communities.

What makes this refinancing stand out, aside from the amount, is what Waterton and CalSTRS are doing with it. While recent refis like JDL and iStar Financial's $145M loan for 1000 South Clark and Friedman Properties' $115M loan for three downtown hotels have seen the partners pull equity out of the assets, Waterton and CalSTRS are using their loan to reduce Presidential Towers' debt load.

The refinancing revealed Waterton took out a $325M mortgage on Presidential Towers in 2007. This implies that Waterton and CalSTRS needed an additional $75M to pay off the balance on the old loan, according to Crain's. The move to put equity back into the asset may be a sign Waterton is reading the multifamily landscape and preparing for some rough waters ahead.

Waterton CEO David Schwartz told Bisnow in October the race to acquire Class-B assets is competitive, as investors recognize there's better rent growth than in Class-A. But David told attendees at BMAC Midwest last week that expenses are up on Class-B and, with uncertainty about what President-elect Donald Trump's economic policies will be once he's inaugurated, it would be a smart move to borrow as much as possible on 10-year Treasury bonds while the rates are still low.