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Pulling Off the Impossible Financing Job

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It’s an assignment no one would envy—trying to finance two office buildings just as oil prices are free-falling. One was 27% occupied and the other had an energy tenant go out of business during the process. But NorthMarq VP Warren Hitchcock got them both done, and says his recent activity shows that lenders have realized Houston isn’t falling off the map.

Pulling Off the Impossible Financing Job

Both properties are in The Woodlands, and Warren, who’s been active in that market, gives a lot of credit to the J Beard Co. The first deal was a complicated acquisition bridge loan for Vision Park office building (27% occupied at time of application). By closing, J Beard had brought it up to 40% and had more LOIs. One of NorthMarq’s correspondent life companies funded it with a five-year fixed-rate loan at 65% of acquisition cost and 70% of good news money for future build-outs and leasing commissions. The interest rate was in the 5% range.

Pulling Off the Impossible Financing Job

Here’s Vision Park. The other assignment was refinancing Parkwood, an existing Class-A building on Grogan’s Mill that had a number of oil and gas tenants. Capital was concerned about its exposure as oil prices were dropping, and sure enough, one tenant went out of business. It had a domino effect on the deal, but J Beard backfilled the space back to 100% occupancy (and at $10 more per SF in rent), and it closed. Now that Warren has had success convincing capital Houston is still a strong market, he’s got his eye on the next big point of concern: interest rates rising. He’s already seen a 50 bps increase in the last few months. But Warren’s got something even more important on his radar—he recently got engaged and is preparing for a wedding next June.