Bank OZK expands Florida presence with $215m condo construction loan

London Bay will use the funding for the first phase of a Ritz-Carlton development in Bonita Springs.

A rendering of the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Estero Bay South Tower.

Arkansas-based Bank OZK is expanding its Florida lending activity with a $215 million construction financing package for the first phase of a condominium development in Bonita Springs.

OZK closed the financing, its second deal of 2024, on January 4 on behalf of developer London Bay, based in Naples, Florida. The sponsor will use the financing to construct the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Estero Bay South Tower.

The multi-phase condominium development marked the second $100 million-plus financing made by OZK year to date. On January 2, the bank originated a $220 million construction loan for the first phase of a mixed-use project in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, helmed by Houston-based manager Hines.

The Ritz-Carlton-branded project will mark the first residential entry by the legacy resort and residence brand in Southwest Florida, where London Bay maintains a broader hospitality presence. The deal was arranged by Chicago-based advisory JLL and its capital markets debt advisory team, including managing director Brian Gaswirth and associates Jimmy Calvo and Paul Adams.

The project’s South tower will consist of two-, three- and four-bedroom residences averaging 3,430 square feet across the 22-story building. The property’s amenity list includes a wellness center, private dining and activity rooms, three pools and a separate lagoon among other offerings.

Upon completion, the asset will be the first residential component developed within London Bay’s master-planned residential and golf community in Bonita Springs, dubbed Saltleaf on Estero Bay.

OZK remained an active lender in Florida amid multiple interest rate hikes made by the US Federal Reserve during 2023. The Arkansas bank originated a $277 million loan for a Miami Beach luxury hotel and condominium tower and also a $215 million loan for a Miami mixed-used development in January last year.