Alternative Lender of the Year
Winner: ACORE Capital
Second Place: KKR
Third Place: Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies
ACORE Capital, with roughly $17.9 billion in assets under management, originated $6.6 billion across 75 loans across asset classes. With a particularly active fourth quarter, ACORE originated $2.4 billion in 29 loans – activity that makes it one of the nation’s largest non-bank lenders. The firm also raised $1 billion to launch ACORE Hospitality Partners, an investment strategy backed by a group of institutions to focus on providing North American hotel operators with recovery capital to maintain operations in the face of the disproportionate and historic impact the ongoing covid-19 outbreak has had on the lodging industry.
Bank Lender of the Year
Winner: JPMorgan Chase
Second Place: Wells Fargo
Third Place: CIBC
JPMorgan Chase’s Community Development Banking team deployed nearly $5 billion in 2021 to communities across the country. About $3.8 billion of this was focused on affordable housing construction and permanent loans, leading to the creation of 18,585 affordable rental units. The team also provided $2.1 billion devoted to Historic Tax Credit Qualified Rehabilitation Expenses, $587 million toward New Markets Tax Credit Qualified Equity Investments and $382 million to Community Development Financial Institution financing. At the end of 2020, JPMorgan Chase established a new Racial Equity Initiative and committed to doing more within its CDFI lending portfolio to bring low-cost capital to CDFIs focused on advancing racial equity.
ESG Financing of the Year
Winner: Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies
Second Place: Berkadia
Third Place: Petros PACE Financing
Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies led a $584 million mortgage and senior mezzanine debt package that was part of a $911 million whole loan refinancing for L&C Holdings, BentallGreenOak and Tokyu’s 425 Park Avenue. The property is a 47-story, trophy office tower totaling 670,000 square feet, and the first full-block office tower built on Park Avenue in over 50 years. The building is set to be the first WELL Certified commercial office building in New York City and will receive LEEDS Gold Certification. It also features an amenity floor, which includes fitness studios, terraces, lounges, meditation rooms and areas for tenants to connect.
Investment Financing Deal of the Year
Winner: Blackstone Mortgage Trust
Second Place: JPMorgan Chase
Third Place: Madison Realty Capital
Blackstone Mortgage Trust originated a $500 million loan to Brookfield for the construction of Eagle + West, previously Greenpoint Landing. The property is Brookfield’s fourth multifamily development along the East River in a Brooklyn sub-market. The adjacent 30- and 40-story towers are expected to be delivered in the second quarter of 2022 and will total 745 rental apartments. Thirty percent of the units will remain income-restricted under the Affordable Housing New York Program.
Law Firm of the Year
Winner: Morrison & Foerster
Second Place: Kirkland & Ellis
Third Place: Goodwin
Morrison & Foerster’s activity in 2021 included representing Societe Generale and Standard Chartered Bank in a $2.11 billion senior secured portfolio mortgage financing of 155 industrial properties located in 19 states comprising 30.6 million square feet. The firm also represented Wells Fargo Bank as the lead lender in the $973 million construction loan to Oxford Property Group and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for the construction of Google’s new 1.3 million-square-foot campus in Hudson Square in New York City. In addition, it represented Unizo in over $2 billion of office building acquisitions, sales, and financings in New York City and Washington, DC. Finally, it launched the NYC Reawakens event series, reuniting members of the New York real estate community at in-person events throughout the city.
Loan Servicer of the Year
Winner – Tie: Trimont Real Estate Advisors, Situs
Second Place: Mount Street
Trimont Real Estate Advisors: The firm significantly expanded its US business in 2021, with assets under management increasing year-on-year by 11 percent to $190 billion and its client base experiencing similar growth. Trimont is a rated servicer from S&P Global, Fitch Ratings and KBRA. As its clients geared up to deploy significant capital, the firm tapped into its expertise as one of the largest third-party servicers and administrators of construction debt globally.
Situs: The company is one of the most active US commercial real estate servicers, and significantly increased its portfolio of specially serviced loans in 2021 with the addition of 107 assignments that touched more than $65 billion in unpaid principal balance in 2021. The firm also provides substantial asset management services.
Mid-Market Lender of the Year ($20m-$70m)
Winner: Ready Capital
Second Place: Driftwood Capital
Third Place: Parkview Financial
Ready Capital’s national value-add bridge lending team closed and funded $3.7 billion of loans across 186 deals in the US, built origination infrastructure that will allow it to expand its activity, and completed $2.3 billion of bridge loan securitizations via three CRE CLOs. The firm also closed its largest bridge loan for a five-property multifamily portfolio across the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, reinforcing the division’s focus on multifamily, alongside industrial and other CRE asset types.
Mid-Market Financing Deal of the Year ($20m-$70m)
Winner: Starwood Property Trust
Second Place: Ready Capital
Third Place: 3650 REIT
Starwood Property Trust originated a $59 million loan on the Lake Ellenor multifamily complex in a deal arranged by Berkadia on behalf of East Hill Capital Partners and The Bascom Group. The Florida property saw new leases being signed at higher rates as the four-year loan was being negotiated. Rising demand and rents at the property, Enclave at Lake Ellenor, meant the borrower was able to secure better terms.
Mortgage REIT of the Year
Winner: KKR Real Estate Finance Trust
Second Place: Blackstone Mortgage Trust
Third Place: Ready Capital KKR
KKR Real Estate Finance Trust focuses primarily on originating senior loans secured by commercial real estate assets that are owned and operated by experienced and well-capitalized sponsors in liquid markets. In 2021, the REIT originated and funded a record $4.8 billion and $3.6 billion respectively, relating to 37 floating-rate loans; managed a high-performing, diversified portfolio; and was one of the first mortgage REITs to return to lending following the onset of the covid-19 pandemic.
Small Ticket Financing Deal of the Year (sub-$20m)
Winner: Driftwood Capital Partners
Second Place: Berkadia
Third Place: Enhanced Capital
Driftwood Capital Partners originated a roughly $24.3 million preferred equity financing on a pair of Denver-area properties, The Stanley and Fall River Resort. The financing was part of a larger $138.7 million financing and demonstrated Driftwood’s ability to deploy equity and debt capital in newly built or existing assets. The properties include Stanley Campus, which has 192 rooms and 31 condos, and the nearby Fall River Village Resort, an upscale property with 89 rooms. An undisclosed insurance company provided the $114.4 million senior loan, which was used to refinance existing debt on Stanley Campus and fund the acquisition of Fall River Village Resort.
Small-Ticket Lender of the Year (sub-$20m)
Winner: Morrison Street Capital
Second Place: Stronghill Capital
Third Place: BEB Capital
Small-balance lender Morrison Street Capital is active nationally, operating via a series of investment funds and focusing on loans of $10 million or less. It originates small balance equity, mezzanine debt and preferred equity. The firm has a rare niche in the small balance space, filling the gap between a borrower’s equity and proceeds from a first mortgage lender. It specializes in the Western US.
Debt Adviser of the Year
Second Place: Eastdil Secured
Third Place: Chatham Financial
JLL, the largest originator in the US for more than five years, provides lending, loan sales and asset management advisory services to borrowers across asset classes and markets. It saw $192 billion of capital markets transactions in 2021. The firm’s national scope and ability to work across the capital stack means it can provide certainty of execution, arrange financing from traditional senior mortgages to mezzanine debt and preferred equity, and offer real-time analysis of where the debt markets are.