Panku scores $82M refinance for Irvine multifamily complex

Western & Southern Life Assurance provides five-year loan on 272-unit property

Developer Panku Scores $82M Refinance on Irvine Apartments

Western & Southern Financial Group CEO John Barrett along with 17600 Cartwright Road in Irvine (Getty, Western & Southern Financial Group, Google Maps)

Panku, a real estate development firm run by Alex Wang, has refinanced an apartment complex in Irvine — the first project the company completed. 

Western & Southern Life Assurance provided a five-year, $82 million loan on 17600 Cartwright Road, according to property records filed with Orange County. A team led by Northmarq’s David Gahagan and Chris Hammel arranged the financing and announced the deal on Thursday, but did not disclose the lender. 

The loan was used to pay off outstanding debt and “reimburse cost overruns,” Gahagan said in a statement. 

Panku completed the 272-unit project in 2021. The same year, Panku scored an $80 million loan from Shanghai Commercial Bank, with a floating interest rate, records show. 

Insurance companies are one of the few lenders still willing to hand out debt on multifamily projects, according to brokers and developers in Southern California.

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After the collapse of First Republic Bank last year and JPMorgan’s subsequent acquisition of the bank, regional banks started pulling back from lending on multifamily, construction and other commercial real estate projects. 

At the property, 28 of the units were classified as affordable and included in the City of Irvine’s affordable housing lottery. 

Monthly rents at the complex range from $2,795 for a 615-square-foot, one-bedroom to $4,395 for a two-bedroom unit, according to listings on RentCafe. Those numbers are about in line with average rents for Irvine, Zumper data show. 

Western & Southern Life Assurance is part of Western & Southern FInancial Group, based in Cincinnati.