Developer Peter Fine has secured a $70 million construction loan for a massive residential project in East Harlem, a sign of life for the commercial lending market.
M&T Bank provided Fine’s Bolivar Development with the financing for the 178-unit project at 1998 Second Avenue, between 102nd and 103rd Streets. Thirty percent of the development’s units will be set aside as affordable, and the 12-story structure will have about 13,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and 500 square feet of community space.
The project, which Fine filed plans for in June 2019, should cost $91 million overall. The developer plans to finish the project by the first quarter of 2021 and have it ready for residents to move into by next November, despite the limits the pandemic has placed on construction activity.
Fine purchased the site in late 2018 for $28.5 million. It comprises eight parcels and lies right along the path of the next phase of the Second Avenue subway.
Although Fine said it was tougher to close on the financing than it would have been before the pandemic, he said he felt it was “a vote of confidence in New York City and the future of New York City by the bank and me.”
The loan was initially supposed to close in November, but one part of the assemblage took longer than expected to finalize, so it got pushed back to March, right when the coronavirus began to shut down all of New York, according to Drew Kessler, a vice president at M&T. He echoed Fine’s comment that, despite the pandemic, the bank still feels “extremely comfortable and confident about the project overall.”
Real estate loans in Manhattan experienced a sharp decline in April, the first full month after businesses shuttered to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The top 10 biggest loans of the month totaled just $742 million, a 72 percent drop from March. The $70 million M&T loan would have been the fifth largest one last month.