Meet the 2022 Awards winners

The US commercial real estate debt markets navigated rising interest rates and macroeconomic and geopolitical turmoil for a number of solid transactions. Find out which organizations and deals were voted last year’s best.

Bank Lender of the Year

Winner: JPMorgan Chase
Second place: Bank OZK
Third place: Wells Fargo

Times Square: JPMorgan originated a pair of loans for properties there

JPMorgan’s originations included a strong bet on New York City’s office market, with the bank taking the lead on a $415 million refinancing package for the Rudin family to revamp 3 Times Square. The bank also committed $425 million of debt to refinance an existing loan on One Times Square for Jamestown. 

Alternative Lender of the Year ($15bn+ Real Estate AUM) 

Winner: KKR Real Estate Credit
Second place: Blackstone
Third place: ACORE Capital

KKR Real Estate Credit last year expanded its real estate credit franchise, which invests in senior transitional loans, stabilized first mortgages, opportunistic loans, mezzanine debt and other strategies. Highlights include growing its assets under management to $31 billion, or a little less than half of all of KKR’s total global real estate portfolio, and significant year-on-year increases in its senior loan portfolio. KKR Real Estate Finance Trust completed its fifth year as a public company, originating more than $16.3 billion of loans since inception and the firm has also seen KKR Real Estate Select Trust grow to $3.6 billion. 

Alternative Lender of the Year (Sub-$15bn Real Estate AUM) 

Winner: Invesco Real Estate
Second place: Madison Realty Capital
Third place: 3650 REIT

Invesco Real Estate closed 39 loans totaling roughly $4 billion over the last 12 months, all while maintaining a strong track record with no history of losses since the inception of its real estate credit business in 2013. Key transactions last year include traditional and newer asset classes, including roughly $200 million of loans in the industrial outdoor storage sector. The firm has completed $16 billion of originations since inception, with a current portfolio of roughly $10 billion. 

Securitized Deal of the Year 

Winner: Berkshire Residential Investments’ MF1 2022-FL-8 
Second place: Goldman Sachs’ ECI Multifamily Securitization
Third place: Citibank’s Watermark Lodging Trust

Berkshire Residential Investments, an established residential investor and commercial real estate CLO issuer, completed MF1 2022-FL8. The transaction was the firm’s eighth securitization through its MF1 bridge lending platform, a joint venture with Limekiln Real Estate. MF1 2022-FL8 – which consists of 38 properties in 24 US markets and carries a $2 billion face value – marked the first commercial real estate collateralized loan obligation of the year and featured 31 sponsors across the all-multifamily deal. 

Large-Ticket Lender of the Year ($100m+)  

Winner: KKR Real Estate Credit 
Second place: Blackstone
Third place: ACORE Capital

Boston Seaport: KKR originated a loan for a life sciences development

KKR Real Estate Credit, which originates loans of $50 million to more than $500 million, closed more than 55 loans larger than $100 million and has an average loan size of $124 million. Originations include a more than $500 million floating-rate loan on a regional industrial and logistics portfolio and a $300 million construction financing for a life sciences development in Boston’s Seaport District.  

Mid-Market Lender of the Year ($50m-$100m) 

Winner: ACORE Capital 
Second place: Thorofare Capital
Third place: Kayne Anderson Real Estate

Los Angeles-based ACORE Capital kicked off 2022 with a $75.3 million loan to fund the acquisition of a residential property in Texas. In the months that followed, the firm provided a $125 million loan on an office property in Texas, a $55 million loan on a suburban Atlanta multifamily asset and, along with Bank OZK, $80.5 million in construction financing for an industrial project in Winchester, Virginia. 

The firm also provided $98 million to Busboom Group and Archwood Real Estate to acquire and enhance The Edge apartments, a 417-unit 2013 vintage property in Euless, Texas.

Small-Ticket Lender of the Year ($25m-$50m) 

Winner: Arrowmark Partners
Second place: Toorak Partners
Third place: iBorrow

ArrowMark Commercial Real Estate Partners is the real estate investment arm of ArrowMark Partners, a Denver-based, privately owned asset management firm with about $22 billion in AUM. 

Since inception in 2019, the real estate business has originated over $2.2 billion of first mortgage commercial mortgage loans and structured equity across all markets and asset classes. 

Notable transactions last year include a five-year, $40 million loan on a Class B Pittsburgh multifamily asset and a $27.5 million, three-year fixed-rate loan on a Scottsdale, Arizona self-storage property. 

Life Sciences Lender of the Year

Winner: Brookfield Asset Management
Second place: KKR Real Estate Credit
Third place: Affinius Capital (formerly Square Mile Capital Management and USAA Real Estate)

Brookfield Asset Management originated a $278 million financing package on behalf of a partnership that includes CV Properties, Cannon Hill Partners and L&B Realty Advisors in Boston’s Somerville submarket. The sponsors are planning to build a nine-story life sciences facility. 

Data Center Lender of the Year

Winner: Goldman Sachs
Second place: TD Bank
Third place: SMBC

Goldman Sachs led a group of lenders which included Citibank, Wells Fargo, Barclays and Santander to finance KKR and Global Infrastructure Partners’ acquisition of CyrusOne. The financing totaled $15 billion for the privatization and included both real estate and corporate finance strategies.  

Hospitality and Leisure Lender of the Year

Winner: Blackstone
Second place: Madison Realty Capital
Third place: Deutsche Bank Securities

Blackstone was an active hotel lender in 2022, financing transactions that included a $191 million luxury development in Costa Rica arranged by Lotus Capital Partners for sponsors Gencom and Mohari Hospitality. The firm also financed Partners Group and Trinity Investments’ acquisition of the Four Seasons Dallas at Las Colinas. 

Office Lender of the Year

Winner: Morgan Stanley
Second place: Wells Fargo
Third place: Aareal Capital

Morgan Stanley was part of a financing consortium with Apollo Global Management and AIG that originated a $1.3 billion financing for RXR Realty’s planned renovations of New York’s 5 Times Square, a 1.1 million-square-foot asset. The financing, along with similar high-profile deals, demonstrates the bank’s commitment to premium sponsors and opportunities. 

Logistics Lender of the Year

Winner: Affinius Capital (formerly Square Mile Capital Management and USAA Real Estate)
Second place: Wells Fargo
Third place: CIBC

The sector was a strong area of focus for Square Mile Capital Management, now Affinius Capital Group. The firm originated a number of loans, including a $200 million financing with BMO for KKR to develop four industrial sites and a $97 million loan for Glenstar for the construction of Tri County 75 Industrial Campus, a planned Fort Myers, Florida industrial project. 

Multifamily Lender of the Year

Winner: Blackstone
Second place: Mesa West Capital
Third place: Berkshire Residential Investments

Waterline: planned multifamily mixed use complex in Austin

Blackstone expanded its multifamily portfolio with a flurry of loan activity in 2022, including a $224 million construction financing package for a new mixed-use asset in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood. Through Blackstone Mortgage Trust, the firm also backed what will become Texas’s tallest tower with its $675 million construction loan for WaterWaterline in downtown Austin, Texas.  

Mortgage REIT of the Year

Winner: KKR Real Estate Finance Trust
Second place: Blackstone
Third place: Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance

KKR Real Estate Finance Trust focuses on originating senior commercial real estate loans on behalf of premium sponsors and recently celebrated its fifth anniversary as a public company. Since inception, the REIT has completed more than $16.3 billion of loans and grew its portfolio to roughly $7.7 billion, a 33 percent year-on-year increase. As of the end of September, the mortgage REIT screened $142 billion of loans and originated $4.1 billion of loans screened. 

ESG Lender of the Year

Winner: Nuveen Green Capital
Second place: GreenRock Capital
Third place: ING Real Estate Finance

Nuveen Green Capital specializes in C-PACE financings, a public-private funding mechanism with deep roots in ESG. The group, founded by Jessica Bailey and Alexandra Cooley, saw substantial growth in 2022 as the firm grew at the same time as more cities and regions were adopting C-PACE financing to upgrade the resiliency and energy efficiency of buildings. 

Construction Lender of the Year

Winner: Blackstone
Second place: Parkview Financial
Third place: Harbor Group International

Blackstone was an active construction lender in 2022, originating a $675 million construction loan for a downtown Austin residential development via Blackstone Mortgage Trust. The tower, known as Waterline, is being constructed by Lincoln Property Company and Kairoi Residential. The firm also originated a $224 million loan for a mixed-use tower in Miami, Edgewater. 

Investment Financing Deal of the Year

Winner: KKR Real Estate Credit (Elco Yards)
Second place: Blackstone (Onni Group)
Third place: Madison Realty Capital (Four Seasons Hotel and Residence)

In September 2022, KKR Real Estate Credit closed a $581 million senior loan for the construction of Elco Yards, a 656,000-square-foot mixed-use office and life sciences development in Redwood City, California. The transaction shows KKR’s capabilities as a scaled solutions provider able to underwrite complex transitional loans. The deal included multiple pools of capital which allowed the lender to provide a whole loan solution to the borrower,  IQHQ, a leading international life sciences developer and operator. The firm provided a senior transitional loan on the planned four-property, trophy office and life sciences campus. 

Debt Advisory Team of the Year

Winner: KKR Capital Markets
Second place: Berkadia
Third place: StackSource

KKR Capital Markets is a 10-person team led by Amanda Magliaro and has expertise on all areas of commercial real estate, with extensive experience around highly bespoke facilities across all property types. In 2022, KCM’s real estate team advised on 130 deals, representing $23.9 billion in proceeds, across data center, multifamily housing, SFR, senior housing, student housing, industrial, life sciences and self-storage product types. These deals included the $11.5 billion US/European financing for KKR and Global Infrastructure Partners’ acquisition of Cyrus One. As of December 12, 2022, 48 percent of the global KKR Capital Markets team identify as a gender and/or ethnic minority. 

Boutique Debt Adviser of the Year

Winner: WAY Capital
Second place: Tower Capital
Third place: Black Bear Capital Partners

WAY, a newly launched advisory firm, has seen significant growth in its first year of operations. Founders Malcolm Davies and Zachary Streit were on track to complete $1.2 billion of financings in 2022, which translates into about $2 billion of capitalizations. The West Coast-headquartered company opened an office in Nashville in June as part of its growth and now has a team of 13 people working to arrange financing across sectors and markets. Its activity includes closing $247 million of construction financings. 

Fundraise of the Year

Winner: Greystar Real Estate Partners
(Greystar Credit Partners III)
Second place: Bridge Investment Group
Third place: Berkshire Residential Investments

Greystar raised $600 million for its third credit strategy, Greystar Credit Partners III. The fund will focus on the acquisition of securitized subordinated debt, private label securitization, junior notes and mezzanine debt. All of its investments will be focused on properties in the for-rent residential space and the latest fund demonstrates the firm’s long-term commitment to the space. 

Law Firm of the Year

Winner: Morrison & Foerster
Second place: Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft
Third place: Kirkland & Ellis

Morrison & Foerster’s activity in 2022 included a significant role in reshaping New York’s skyline. This activity included representing Wells Fargo in its role as the administrative agent and lead arrange of a $1.8 billion construction loan for an office and retail tower at 50 Hudson Yards. Costing nearly $4 billion, the property will be the home for BlackRock.

Law Firm: Transaction of the Year

Winner: Morrison & Foerster
Second place: Kirkland & Ellis
Third place: Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft

The firm was very active as an adviser to lenders in 2022, representing Societe Generale and Standard Charter Bank in a $2.11 billion senior secured portfolio mortgage financing of 155 industrial properties on behalf of Mapletree Investments. It also represented JPMorgan on a $415 million syndicated mortgage secured by 3 Times Square and advised Wells Fargo on a $1.8 billion loan on 50 Hudson Yards.

Loan Servicer of the Year

Winner: Trimont
Second place: CBRE Loan Services
Third place: SitusAMC

Trimont saw its assets under management rise by 20 percent in 2022 in the US, growing its headcount in conjunction with its client growth. The firm’s headcount rose in the US by almost 40 percent in 2022 and Trimont continues to operate as one of the largest third-party servicers in the sector. Additionally, the firm was selected as the servicer on new ESG impact funds last year, demonstrating its capabilities in sustainable lending for investors and other market participants.