The Real Deal New York

Sam Zell’s Equity Residential issues $400M in green bonds

The issuance is the first for an apartment REIT
By Christian Bautista | December 06, 2018 06:10PM

Sam Zell Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Sam Zell may be a bit skeptical about climate change, but he nonetheless may profit from it.

Zell’s Equity Residential issued $400 million in green bonds, according to a company press release. The issuance, which the firm claims is the first ever for an apartment REIT, is for 4.15 percent unsecured notes that mature in 2028.

The bonds are expected to generate proceeds of $396.7 million, which the company plans to funnel into green projects such as 855 Brannan Street in San Francisco. The property, a 383,000-square-foot development with 449 units, owns the distinction of being the largest LEED Platinum-certified multifamily property in San Francisco.

“We are very pleased with the demand for this issuance, especially from investors with an environmental focus,” said Mark Parrell, the firm’s president.

The company is embracing sustainability in spite of its founder’s doubts about climate science.

“I fall into the group on climate change that says I don’t have the certainty that a lot of other people have. That doesn’t mean I disagree with it … the level of certainty of exactly what is happening has a lack of humility and an arrogance to it that scares me,” Zell said in a 2015 interview with Bloomberg. “Anytime there is this giant consensus, as far as I’m concerned, conventional wisdom is my greatest enemy. And this strikes me as an awful lot of conventional wisdom.”

Equity Residential has recently been looking to trim its Manhattan portfolio. Last July, the firm sold 101 West End Avenue to the Dermot Company and Dutch pension fund PGGM for $416 million. It also reportedly put 800 Sixth Avenue in Chelsea and 505 West 54th in Hell’s Kitchen on the market in September.