Cantor, CIM launch national real estate lending venture

Anthony Orso

Cantor Fitzgerald said it launched a new real estate lending venture with Los Angeles-based CIM Group, planning to originate $5 billion a year in mortgage and mezzanine loans.

The business, called Cantor Commercial Real Estate, will focus on a wide variety of loans in major urban markets across the country. The loans will cover office, retail, multi-family and hospitality, according to a source who asked not to be identified.

“CCRE is in the process of evaluating lending opportunities to securitize loans,” the source told The Real Deal.

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Anthony Orso, executive managing director of Manhattan-based Cantor, will lead the new business as CEO. Orso will work alongside the new venture’s two other founding partners Steve Kantor, global head investment banking at Cantor, and Michael Lehrman, deputy head of investment banking at Cantor. The three executives worked together at Credit Suisse’s real estate lending business for 10 years prior to joining Cantor.

CIM Group, a fund manager that specializes in urban investments, is the lead investor in the venture.

Cantor officials pointed out in a news release that the origination of commercial mortgage-backed securities fell from $230 billion a year at the peak of the real estate boom in 2007 to about $3 billion in 2009. The company notes that borrowers will need to refinance about $1.4 billion in maturing real estate debt over the next five years.