Usual Suspects

A recent report from Real Capital Analytics identifying cities with the most multifamily properties in distress shows no surprises. New York ($1.4 billion); South Florida ($1.1 billion); Houston ($818 million); Phoenix ($766 million); and Las Vegas ($612 million) collectively account for $4.7 billion of the $11.5 billion in distressed apartments nationwide. “The bigger markets with the big money assets will obviously be at the top of the list because the properties are so much more expensive,” says Dan Fasulo, managing director for Real Capital Analytics. Further down on the list is San Francisco with $533 million worth of apartments in distress. Much of that is represented by the Lembi family portfolio. Chicago, with $353 million in distressed apartments, rounds out the Top 10. Les Shaver

Student Frenzy

SCHOOL DAYS: Place Properties is building Hills Place near the University of Arkansas.
Place Properties SCHOOL DAYS: Place Properties is building Hills Place near the University of Arkansas.

Atlanta-based Place Properties scored a coup this month, landing a total of $177 million in construction financing for nine development projects set to deliver in July as part of the Place/BV Student Housing Fund, a joint venture between Place and Chicago-based Blue Vista Capital Management. Eight lenders participated in financing the projects. All of the financing falls within a loan-to-value spread between 65 percent and 70 percent, according to Place executive vice president Bob Clark. The firm says it initiated calls to nearly 350 lenders across the country looking for suitable lending terms and only received about 20 positive responses. The financing will be used to complete development on student housing projects at or near schools to include the University of Texas at San Antonio; the University of Arkansas; and Texas A&M. Chris Wood

Wanted: Plan of Action

The country desperately needs a 21st-century national infrastructure plan to emerge from its deep recession and ensure future prosperity, according to Infrastructure 2009: A Pivotal Point, a recent report released by the Urban Land Institute and Ernst & Young. The report calls for overhauling federal infrastructure policy and integrating land use and infrastructure planning at all levels of government. Such a plan could result in greater leveraging of public investments; an improved mobility network; and the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions through reduced auto dependency. The report’s four-pronged approach to improving the country’s infrastructure policy: 1) Create a national strategy; 2) Plan holistically; 3) Consolidate government management; and 4) Change funding approaches. Rachel Z. Azoff

Ups and Downs

Multifamily lenders have seen some volatility recently. On the positive front, PNC Real Estate, which originated $7.2 billion in multifamily debt, claimed the top spot in the Mortgage Bankers Association’s annual rankings of multifamily lenders. The Pittsburgh-based bank more than doubled its origination volume from the year before. Meanwhile, trouble is brewing for Capmark Financial Group, the No. 1 Freddie Mac and FHA lender in 2008 and fourth-largest overall multifamily lender, which has been teetering on the verge of bankruptcy for much of ’09. The Horsham, Pa.-based lender posted a $1.1 billion loss in the fourth quarter of ’08 and said that a bankruptcy filing may be imminent. As of press time, Capmark was open for business. Jerry Ascierto