Rental conversion at 20 Exchange Place gets $240M loan

Developer DTH Capital can now wrap up work after eight years

20 Exchange Place and Andrew Singer
20 Exchange Place and Andrew Singer

Developer DTH Capital said it will complete the long-awaited conversion of the landmark Financial District building at 20 Exchange Place into a full residential tower, after obtaining $240 million in financing.

Andrew Singer of Singer & Bassuk Organization served as the broker for the loan, which Natixis Real Estate Capital provided. The conversion at the Lower Manhattan property, formerly called the City Bank-Farmers Trust Building, is largely complete. A group of lenders including German commercial bank Helaba provided a $256.5 million construction loan in 2006.

Steve Galiotos, president of DTH, says the new funds will help pay for the conversion of  the 9th to 15th floors at the tower from commercial space into 221 additional residential units. This follows the exit of DMJM Harris Arup from the building, where it was subleasing space.

“Along with the addition of 221 new luxury apartments, we are upgrading the building amenities, introducing concierge services and further repositioning the asset to benefit from the continued transition of downtown into a desirable neighborhood for working, living, eating and shopping,” said Galiotos.

DTH is a venture of the Eastbridge Group, led by the Bruckner family, and a firm called AG Real Estate, a unit of Ageas SA. Eastbridge, Yaron Bruckner and Metro Loft Management president Nathan Berman originally acquired 20 Exchange in 2004 for $152 million.

Eastbridge bought the former AIG building at 70 Pine in 2011 and entered into a deal with Rose Associates in 2012 to develop the property.

The new apartments will be priced as high-end studios and one-bedroom apartments with a few two bedrooms, representatives said, averaging about $65 a square foot. Town Marketing & Leasing is handling the rentals, while FirstService Residential, which includes Cooper Square, is handing the management of the property.

In addition to the residential conversion, Michael Stone and David Tricarico, senior directors at Cushman & Wakefield, are marketing about 118,000 square feet of retail space at the building, which includes street level and five floors of below-grade space. The historic property, built in 1931, includes massive bank vaults and high ceilings that made it very attractive for film studios.

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The feature films “Inside Man” from director Spike Lee and “Spiderman,” the live action version of the Marvel Comics series, were filmed at the building. Actress Nicole Kidman is currently negotiating to film a new movie at the property.

The street level commercial space has generated interest from restaurants and event space firms, according to officials. The below-grade space is generating more interest from educational institutions, health spas and health club chains.

Andrew Singer, chairman and chief executive of Singer & Bassuk, said his firm has been involved with financing the three other deals at the property, adding that the development of new residential properties and retail in Lower Manhattan made this financial deal much easier to get done. He added that his firm has financed the development of about 13,000 residential apartments in that submarket.

“The change down there has been extraordinary,” he said. “This is a great time to do the space.”

(Additional reporting by Mark Maurer)