George Comfort renegotiating $160M loan

One of seven office loans listed as delinquent in city
By Adam Pincus | September 04, 2009 09:41AM

George Comfort & Sons, the firm that made the largest office investment purchase this year when it bought World Wide Plaza for $590 million, is 30 days delinquent on a $160 million loan on a Bryant Park office building, commercial loan tracking firm Trepp reported.

The securitized loan on 119 West 40th Street, a 340,219-square-foot building, was listed as 30 days late “because the terms of the loan are currently being renegotiated,” a source familiar with the situation said in an e-mail, but would not elaborate. George Comfort declined to comment.

It was one of seven New York City office loans — with a total value of $255 million — classified as delinquent last month, Trepp said in a report. That was an increase of 100 percent in value from July, when there were $128 million in delinquent office loans, the data indicates.

While experts anticipate a rise in the volume of distressed securitized loans in the New York City office market, the report shows that to date it remains nearly untouched by the current downturn, with just 0.5 percent of the city’s $49.4 billion in commercial mortgage-backed securities classified as delinquent.

Peter Slatin, associate publisher and editorial director with Real Capital Analytics, said the fact that George Comfort purchased World Wide Plaza and also has the delinquent loan underscores the complexity of the current environment.

“They are renegotiating I assume to get better terms and presumably playing hardball… It is just an indication [of] how strange this market is,” he said.

Richard Bassuk, president of financial structuring firm Singer & Bassuk Organization, said he expected the amount of delinquent loans in New York City to start rising again.

“I am expecting as time goes by there will be many more [delinquencies] and right now what I think people are doing is trying to see if they can extend the loans,” he said.