Also, social networking used as tool to help spur real estate partnershipsAfter a two-year hiatus from the commercial mortgage-backed securities market, Bridger Commercial Funding headquartered in Mill Valley has gotten back in.
“Recent activity in the CMBS market is signaling that the credit logjam plaguing commercial real estate lending for the past two years is starting to break,” said Peter Grabell, executive vice president of Bridger.
The company works with 2,200 banks throughout the country. Loans made under Bridger’s new program will be underwritten to eligibility standards for securitization under the Federal Reserve’s Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, or TALF.
It is open to applications for new loans from $2 million to $20 million.
“There are two Wall Street investment banks that are quoting loans in the $20 million and up range,” Mr. Grabell said. “What we are doing complements what those firms are doing.”
Mark Carrington, investment and leasing specialist with Orion Partners, a commercial real estate services company, said Bridger moving into the CMBS market is a very interesting move.
“They must be seeing something happening that the market doesn’t see yet,” he said. “All we have seen in the last year or so are mortgage lenders getting out of the market.”
Although the Bridger program is designed to allow investors purchasing new AAA-rated CMBS to access TALF financing, the program will offer commercial real estate borrowers the flexibility to access a range of alternative financing structures.
To date, individual borrowers have been locked out of TALF-supported financings because of the pooling requirement for newly originated loans. The new Bridger program addresses this obstacle by assembling a diversified portfolio of loans from many different borrowers that will be eligible for non-recourse securitization funding offered under TALF.
“This is really the first liquidity that has come back into the market for commercial borrowers. If it is something for multifamily, we have not had reliable financing. ... They are starting to get options back again,” said Mr. Grabell.
“I think that right now, treading cautiously is what is going on,” he continued. “People are looking for straightforward transactions. You are not going to see lenders taking on a lot of credit risk.”
The signing of a Community Benefits Agreement between the developer of Sonoma Mountain Village and the Accountable Development Coalition has spurred heated discussions in the development community as to what the long-term repercussions will be.
In October a document was signed regarding labor, affordable housing and environmental aspects of Sonoma Mountain Village, the mixed-use project on the 200-acre former Agilent Technologies site.
Both people for and against these agreements have called this a “template” for future development.
Groups against CBAs are afraid all developers will have to make these agreements with interest groups, further clogging the process of getting a development approved.
Groups in favor feel that it will hold developers accountable to the community.
Kirstie Moore, development manager of Codding Enterprises, the developer on Sonoma Mountain Village said, “I don’t think it is really appropriate to think of this as a blueprint that everyone should follow,” she said.