May 10, 2021
Savanna Announces 141 Willoughby Development Financing
By: citybiz – Savanna, a New York City-based real estate investment manager and developer, has completed the construction financing of the 141 Willoughby Street development project in downtown Brooklyn, the firm announced. Savanna secured $264 million of debt financing from lenders including funds managed by CarVal Investors. With official groundbreaking completed in late 2020, Savanna is building a state-of-the-art, WELL Health-Safety Certified 400,000 square foot office and retail building designed by Fogarty Finger/SLCE Architects.
“Assembling construction financing for a major ground-up commercial development is a significant feat in the best of times, and to do so successfully during an unprecedented pandemic reaffirms our belief in the 141 Willoughby vision and Savanna’s commitment to New York City,” said Cooper Kramer, Managing Director at Savanna. “We are thrilled to be joining with our development partners of Gilbane Building Company and SavCon and our lender partners on the development of 141 Willoughby. The downtown Brooklyn neighborhood continues to attract businesses through its outstanding access to employee talent, fed by incredible transit connectivity and proximity to many of Brooklyn’s most desirable residential addresses. We see great potential for continued growth in the neighborhood and are confident that modern, high-quality, newly constructed office and retail space designed with a specific focus on health and wellness will be well received by the market.”
“We are excited to provide financing for a project as unique as 141 Willoughby,” said Daniel Tanner, a Director at CarVal investors. “In the current environment, it is so important to align ourselves with strong sponsors and projects, and we are thrilled to work with a team of Savanna’s caliber as they work to deliver some of the most attractive, thoughtfully designed space in Brooklyn. We believe the creative, flexible financing that we were able to offer will allow Savanna to deliver on that goal.”
Aaron Niedermayer and Kellogg Gaines of JLL advised Savanna on the transaction.
“Closing a substantial speculative office construction loan in New York City during COVID is a testament to Savanna and the special project they’ve designed, and also demonstrates the lenders’ confidence in the Sponsor, project and New York City office market,” said Niedermayer.
“We continue to enjoy a long and productive relationship with the Savanna team and 141 Willoughby is yet another example of how the collaboration between our two teams produces results tailored to optimize each transaction. The lender team created the ideal partnership to get this executed.” said Gaines.
141 Willoughby is Savanna’s signature project, with modern design and function at the forefront of its offering. High ceilings and large floor-to-ceiling windows provide spectacular 360° views and abundant natural light. Spacious outdoor terraces and park views contribute to an environment distinguished by light, air, movement, and flow. The design incorporates state-of-the-art health and wellness features including:
Location and transportation are key strengths of 141 Willoughby. The development sits in a highly accessible location in downtown Brooklyn just two blocks from the Jay Street-MetroTech and DeKalb Avenue subway stations and three blocks from Nevins Street station, providing access to the B, D N, R, W, Q, 2, 3, 4, and 5 trains. 141 Willoughby is also located diagonally across from the planned Willoughby Square Park, a one-acre green space and neighborhood amenity that the New York City Economic Development Corporation is planning. Further, the property is directly north of City Point Brooklyn, a major destination for restaurants, shopping and entertainment.
Danielle Ash of Duval & Stachenfeld LLP served as legal counsel for Savanna on the transaction. The Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP team of Mark Osher, Eric Steiglitz, Charlie Weiss, Brian Kniesly and Sabina Jacobs represented CarVal Investors.
Savanna, formed in 1992, is a vertically-integrated real estate investment manager based in New York City and focused on strategic property investments throughout the City’s five boroughs. The firm pursues real estate equity and debt investments, including ground-up development and major repositioning projects. Savanna’s equity investments target value add/opportunistic returns by adding value through asset management and/or property development, redevelopment, and repositioning, deploying a team of more than 50 experienced investment, asset management, construction, and leasing professionals. Savanna also selectively invests in real estate debt instruments that have the potential to generate equity-like returns, including preferred equity instruments, high yield bridge and mezzanine loans, and B-notes. Since 2006, Savanna has invested over $5 billion in total capital across approximately 17 million square feet of real property.
About CarVal Investors
CarVal Investors is an established global alternative investment manager focused on distressed and credit-intensive assets and market inefficiencies. Since 1987, CarVal’s team has navigated through ever-changing credit market cycles, opportunistically investing $128 billion in 5,525 transactions across 82 countries. Today, CarVal Investors has approximately $10 billion in assets under management in corporate securities, loan portfolios, structured credit and hard assets. For more information, visit www.carvalinvestors.com.