Real estate firms continue to raise money aimed at investing in distressed real estate in the Washington area, and Tysons-based NVCommercial is the latest to join the parade.
The firm, a developer planning a 1.3 million-square-foot mixed-use project for the intersection of Leesburg Pike and Chain Bridge Road, has raised a nearly $25 million fund aimed at investing in real estate projects around the Washington region that have stalled or slowed and are in need of capital to continue.
Stephen Cumbie, president of NVCommercial, said the fund was aimed at projects in need of between $2 million and $10 million. Despite the relative strength of Washington’s commercial real estate values, he said he believed it was the right time for the fund because of roughly $1.7 trillion in debt that will becoming due between 2011 and 2015.
“There are going to be quite a few [situations] that are good properties that are largely leased and performing, but when their loans come through they are not going to be able to refinance at that amount,” Cumbie said.
Cumbie said the firm planned to buy small ownership stakes — or “gap equity” — in projects, or issue mezzanine loans.
“We’re not looking to buy real estate per se, we are looking to buy into deals that are owned by other people … they are more financial investments than they are property investments,” Cumbie said.
NVCommercial invested in three deals before completing the fund. Two are in the District: the 66-unit Lincoln Park Terrace project on Capitol Hill, for which NVCommercial provided a nearly $1 million loan, and the Woodley-Wardman condo and town home on Connecticut Avenue. The third is Dominion Heights, an Arlington project for which NVCommercial completed a deal in May.
Cumbie’s bet is that banks will continue to shy away from lending at terms needed to move these deals forward.
NVCommercial is far from being the only company trying to pick up projects that have stalled during the recession. The Willco Cos., based in Potomac, began raising money for distressed real estate shortly after the recession and last week Lennar Corp, the third-largest U.S. homebuiler, announced that it had nearly closed a $650 million private equity fund for distressed assets.
Local developers and services firms are trying to take advantage of the capital. In September, two veterans of Jones Lang LaSalle announced that they would leave the firm to form Ceres Capital Partners, with the aim of arranging financing for urban redevelopment projects.