Bank OZK provides $72M loan for LI industrial project

Wildflower, Barings developing 555K sf site in Yaphank

Bank OZK chair George Gleason and 1001 Express Drive North in Yaphank, Long Island (Getty, LoopNet, Bank OZK Blog)

Bank OZK chair George Gleason and 1001 Express Drive North in Yaphank, Long Island (Getty, LoopNet, Bank OZK Blog)

Major real estate lender Bank OZK is bringing some business to Long Island.

The bank provided a $72 million financing package to Wildflower and Barings for the partnership’s project at 1001 Express Drive North in Yaphank, the Commercial Observer reported. The Suffolk County project in the Brookhaven hamlet will span three buildings at the largest industrial-zoned vacant site along the Long Island Expressway.

Financing for the Class A project closed last week. The Brookhaven Logistics Center will cover 555,000 square feet across 72 acres. The development joint venture also secured economic incentives from the Town of Brookhaven Industrial Development Agency.

A Walker & Dunlop team including Aaron Appel and Keith Kurland negotiated the financing.

While Bank OZK is an experienced lender in New York, it is facing the same challenges as many other major commercial lenders in the city and nation. From the end of 2021 to last year, the bank’s expected loan losses jumped more than 25 percent, from $289 million to $365 million.

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Wildflower’s industrial developments in the works include the Medford Logistics Center in Medford and the College Point Logistics Center in Queens. Last year, Wildflower sold two East New York warehouses in Brooklyn operated by Amazon to CBRE Investment Management for $230 million.

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Barings, based in Charlotte and owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, has a more varied property history, but has dabbled in the industrial sector. Last year, it teamed up with Arkadia Property Group to purchase an industrial complex in Coral Springs for $31 million.

The Long Island industrial market remains robust after surging to new heights during the pandemic. The availability rate in the first quarter was 4.6 percent, according to Colliers, while the average asking rent in the market was $16.15 per square foot.

Holden Walter-Warner