The debt duelers

A borough-by-borough breakdown of the firms that handled the largest loan volumes

Nov.November 01, 2019 12:00 PM

UPDATED: Nov. 7, 2019, 10:22 a.m.: Fried Frank also topped the list of law firms that oversaw the largest commercial loan volumes in Manhattan, with a whopping $6.97 billion among just 22 deals. That put the firm way ahead of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, which came in second place with $5.88 billion among 36 deals.

The largest loan handled by Fried Frank across the city in the same time period was a $600 million-plus loan from JPMorgan Chase for CIM Group and LIVWRK’s mixed-use project at 85 Jay Street in Brooklyn.

Jonathan Mechanic, the firm’s real estate chair, said he’s been seeing a lot of activity among lenders — despite recession concerns and many banks playing it safe — and is on the lookout for more help in that department. “I’m constantly looking for lending people,” he said. “We’re busy … There’s a lot of activity on the debt side.”

Cullen and Dykman took the No. 1 one spot in the other boroughs TRD analyzed with $1.53 billion in total loans in Brooklyn, $938.5 million in Queens and $897 million in the Bronx. Cullen and Dykman also worked on the most commercial debt deals in every borough, with 416 in Brooklyn, 374 in Manhattan, 254 in the Bronx and 213 in Queens.

Gibson Dunn came in second in Brooklyn with $1.35 billion in total loan volume, while King & Spalding took the No. 3 spot in Queens with $449.2 million, and Sidley Austin ranked third in the Bronx with $187.3 million.

Harry Silvera, a partner at Gibson Dunn, said the firm has seen a lot of recent business as many large companies move their offices from one part of the city to another. That’s led to “a significant and steady flow of very large financing transactions” because of the heavy amount of capital involved, he noted.

While corporate relocations have occurred throughout his career, Silvera said he’s not used to seeing so many happen at the same time. “I would say that I’ve worked on three or four [separate] once-in-a-cycle transactions all in the same year,” he said.

Top law firms for loans

Correction: Cassin & Cassin was incorrectly under counted on the top Brooklyn, Queens and Bronx charts. They now rank #6 in Brooklyn with $741.5M, #2 in Queens with $491.6M and #2 in the bronx with $190.8M.


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