Manhattan Mixed-Use Asset Lands $55M Bridge Loan

Emerald Creek Capital supplied Reading International Inc. with financing secured by the onetime headquarters of Tammany Hall.

44 Union Square. Image courtesy of Emerald Creek Capital

Emerald Creek Capital has recently closed financing for Reading International Inc., with the landmark property at 44 Union Square in New York serving as collateral.

The newly converted office and retail property, formerly the headquarters of Tammany Hall, emerged from an $85 million redevelopment project that increased its size to 73,100 square feet in July 2020.

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Emerald Creek provided Reading with an interest-only bridge loan featuring a three-year term with the option for two one-year extensions. The borrower announced last week that it utilized $40.6 million of the loan proceeds to repay the balance on the construction loan secured by the 1920s-era 44 Union Square; the company had obtained a $57.5 million financing package for the property’s redevelopment in 2017. Now, post-transformation, the six-story 44 Union Square is crowned by a 12,000-square-foot glass dome based on a self-supporting shell grid and encompasses approximately 58,100 square feet of premier office space and 15,000 square feet of retail offerings.

44 Union Square’s striking new design, courtesy of BKSK Architects, turned Emerald Creek’s head, but there was a great deal more that attracted the real estate lender to the financing opportunity. Emerald Creek points to the property’s prime location in Midtown South’s bustling Union Square neighborhood and strong sponsorship as appealing factors. Jeff Seidler, a managing director with Emerald Creek originated the loan for Reading, which relied on Estreich & Co. to arrange the financing.

Pandemic-era activity

44 Union Square. Image courtesy of Emerald Creek Capital

While COVID-19-induced economic uncertainties resulted in many conventional lenders distancing themselves from the real estate industry, Emerald Creek plowed forward. In 2020, the firm, a noted player in the alternative finance space, closed 47 transactions totaling roughly $200 million, approximately 35 of which were executed after the pandemic had taken hold in March.

With originations like the recent 44 Union Square loan, Emerald Creek is on track to surpass 2020’s numbers by a significant margin. Other recent transactions include an $18.5 million loan on a waterfront site in Montauk, N.Y., that will be redeveloped into a 40,000-square-foot condominium complex and marina, and a $9 million acquisition loan for a Queens, N.Y., warehouse that will be transformed into a self storage facility.

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