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CHICAGO – The Chicago office of Merchants Capital, established in early 2019, today announces its first new construction/mini-perm loan through Merchants Bank of Indiana, Merchants Capital’s parent company. The multifamily property, River Grove Station, is located in the Chicago suburb of River Grove. The property fits into Merchants Bank’s loan parameters – a shovel-ready deal with a strong developer at a transit-oriented location. Once constructed, the 80-unit property will provide modern luxury and transit-oriented living adjacent to the River Grove Metra Station and within walking distance of nearby restaurants, shopping centers and entertainment venues. Located just northwest of Chicago, River Grove is increasingly attractive to families and young professionals who appreciate the village’s mix of urban amenities in a suburban setting, as well as its easy access to Chicago and nearby O’Hare International Airport. As noted by River Grove Mayor David Guerin, this project will “fundamentally change the face of this section of our downtown” and replace “the view of dilapidated structures” in the area. Merchants Capital Executive Vice President Lee Oller and Senior Vice President Susan Schnoll, the two co-originators on the River Grove Station project, are veteran construction lenders, having over 25 years of experience originating and closing loans under the HUD 221 D4 new construction/substantial rehabilitation program. “For the Merchants Capital Chicago office, this deal is especially exciting, as it is the first Merchants Bank of Indiana construction loan we’ve closed. This development is also the perfect candidate for HUD or GSE takeout financing, which is Merchants Capital’s specialty,” said Oller, who heads up the Chicago office. “We provided an impressive processing timeline from start to finish, which allowed MB Thatcher LLC to begin construction on River Grove Station in a location that is starved for development and often overlooked by developers.” The project is also supported by tax increment financing (TIF) from the Village of River Grove.  These TIF funds will help clean up these environmentally challenged sites and make the development of this new multifamily project feasible. Once the site was approved for TIF financing, the Village approached MB Thatcher LLC, the client, to be the developer due to the quality of other, recently completed projects in the area and their local market knowledge. The development team includes Noah Properties and Environmental Protection Industries (EPI). “We are pleased to expand our multifamily portfolio in River Grove and look forward to bringing in additional new units at this project across the street from the River Grove Metra stop,” said Michael Musa, president and CEO of EPI. “It is our goal to provide affordable modern luxury apartments for the residents of River Grove, with this being our third project in the same general vicinity completed within the last three years.” “This project was brought to us by the officials of River Grove and we completed the site cleanup and the dramatic renovation of the street and streetscape per the request of the village staff and Mayor David Guerin,” said Ben Kadish, president of Maverick Commercial Mortgage Inc., who represented developer MB Thatcher LLC. Located at 2801 Thatcher Avenue, the River Grove Station residences will offer energy efficient one and two-bedroom luxury rental apartments with well-conceived floor plans and attractive finishes selected by skilled designers at Lisek Interiors. The units also feature oversized windows and high ceilings. Construction is expected to complete in mid-2021. To learn more about Merchants Capital and its services, visit www.merchantscapital.com or find Merchants Capital on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and Instagram.
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Merchants Capital Secures Financing to Construct 80-Unit Multifamily Development in Chicago Suburb River Grove
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CARMEL, Ind. – Mortgage banking company Merchants Capital today announces the hiring of Denise Gomez Oluwo as Senior Vice President of Government-Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) Underwriting. With more than 15 years of experience from multiple top GSE lenders, Gomez Oluwo is a recognized industry leader with expertise in underwriting, agency-lending product types, credit risk analysis, financial modeling and operating lending organizations successfully. Prior to joining Merchants Capital, Gomez Oluwo most recently served as Vice President, Deputy Chief Underwriter for Walker & Dunlop. In this role, she managed a team of nine underwriters and analysts, providing credit review on over 100 closed Fannie Mae Small Loan and Freddie Mac SBL transactions in 2020. Additionally, she trained and oversaw a contract underwriting team to assist with excess underwriting volume and lead corporate objectives to retain high scores for annual Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac performance reviews. In her new role at Merchants Capital, Gomez Oluwo will work alongside the current GSE underwriting team to underwrite loans, lead departmental objectives, cultivate client and GSE partner relations and further develop talent on the Merchants underwriting team. Currently, she is working remotely from her home in Maryland. “The executive leadership at Merchants is excited to welcome a talent of Denise’s caliber to our Senior leadership team,” said Dwayne George, Executive Vice President and National Head of Production at Merchants Capital. “Denise brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the GSE platform, but also humbly maintains a deep commitment to active leadership with her team. Denise will be a valuable asset to our company as we continue to grow and execute our strategic business plan.” In addition to her role at Walker & Dunlop, Gomez Oluwo also served as Vice President of Underwriting for Newmark Knight Frank (formerly Berkeley Point Capital). With her team, Gomez Oluwo closed more than 90 transactions totaling $1.6 billion in 2018. She was noted as a company Subject Matter Expert for Fannie Mae’s Green program, as well as the designated underwriting lead on all agency production for several high-profile clients. Gomez Oluwo also previously held positions at Deutsche Bank Berkshire Mortgage and Greystone Servicing Corporation, negotiating and closing over $300 million and $120 million of multifamily mortgage loans respectively. Gomez Oluwo is a graduate of Smith College with a bachelor’s degree in economics. She also holds a master’s of business administration with a concentration in finance from George Washington University. To learn more about Merchants Capital and its services, visit www.merchantscapital.com or find Merchants Capital on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
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Merchants Capital Hires New Senior Vice President, GSE Underwriting
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NEW YORK – Mortgage banking company Merchants Capital today announces the closing of a $51 million construction loan and a $28.4 million Freddie Mac 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Cash Unfunded Forward Commitment to fund a new affordable housing project in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The total $80 million funds for the project, located in the historic Park 79 Hotel, comprises the largest 9% LIHTC allocation in New York City. Renovations to the original hotel, which first debuted in 1899 as “The Indiana,” will create 77 deeply affordable residences for very-low income seniors in the heart of Manhattan. Under an agreement with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the property will remain affordable for at least 60 years. “Redeveloping the Park 79 Hotel and structuring affordable apartments for senior residents in Manhattan is a commendable task, and we at Merchants Capital are thrilled to have worked as a partner on this project, especially with the borrower, Fairstead,” said Mathew Wambua, vice chairman and head of agency lending at Merchants Capital. “We as a company are committed to providing accessible and affordable housing options across the country, and this project is the epitome of that commitment.” Fairstead, the project developer, will oversee renovations, reconfiguring the seven-story building into 77 apartments along with multiple community spaces, including an indoor/outdoor community room, dining room and meeting rooms. Additional rehabilitation will be done throughout the building, including new elevator service, creation of a common dining and recreation room, social services offices and an outdoor garden area. Upon completion, the property will employ two full-time social service coordinators to work alongside residents in organizing community programming events. The building will also have a full-time attendant serving residents as a lobby concierge. “The partnership and commitment from Fairstead and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) has brought this meaningful affordable housing redevelopment to life,” said Michael Milazzo, vice president of loan originations at Merchants Capital. “This project will provide New York City’s senior residents with the quality housing and services they deserve. A special thank you is in order to HPD – for pushing forward under the most adverse of conditions to get this project closed in a timely manner. We also want to thank Will Blodgett of Fairstead for the company’s dedication to housing for all.” Redevelopment of the Park 79 Hotel creates affordable housing in an extremely desirable location of New York City, where affordability and accessibility is traditionally hard to find. Located steps away from Central Park, the project will allow Manhattan’s low-income seniors to continue residing in their home neighborhood without having to look for affordable housing outside of the city limits. “At a moment when the need for high-quality affordable housing for New York’s seniors couldn’t be more urgent, we are beyond proud to break ground on creating 77 deeply affordable residences for seniors right in the heart of the Upper West Side, and grateful to Merchants Capital for its partnership” said Will Blodgett, founding partner of Fairstead. “We pride ourselves in creating and preserving high-quality affordable housing in high-opportunity areas, and it’s so gratifying to provide these homes for seniors just steps from Central Park, the Museum of Natural History and the JCC. The revamped building will have great amenities for residents – but the neighborhood itself will really be its greatest amenity.” Renovation on the original hotel is expected to be completed in 2022. To learn more about Merchants Capital and its services, visit www.merchantscapital.com or find Merchants Capital on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and Instagram.
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Merchants Capital Secures $80MM+ for New Affordable Senior Housing in Manhattan’s Park 79 Hotel
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Mortgage banking company Merchants Capital has established a tax credit syndication platform, a new business unit that infuses private equity from institutional investors into Low Income Housing Tax Credit multifamily housing projects. This launch reflects Merchants Capital’s transformation into a full-service financing provider for affordable housing. The new platform reinforces Merchants Capital’s proven leadership in multifamily finance, as the company has long been an advocate for utilizing market-leading financing solutions to provide affordable housing that improves quality of life. “We are doubling down our commitment to affordable housing,” said Michael R. Dury, Merchants Capital President and CEO. “Leveraging the bank’s balance sheet, along with Merchants Capital’s agency permanent debt financing through HUD, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the equity platform is a true synergy for the business. Merchants Bank has grown to nearly $10 billion in assets, which allows us to buy and hold equity investments and provide upper tier bridge financing to our funds.” Julie Sharp Julie Sharp will lead the platform as Senior Vice President of Tax Credit Equity Syndications. Sharp joined Merchants Capital from one of the nation’s largest tax credit equity syndicators where she was involved in raising capital and structuring and closing upper tier investments valued at more than $1 billion through private placements, multi-investor funds and secondary activity through the Syndications and Investor Relations platform. “This is an exciting time at Merchants Capital. The future of the tax credit equity syndication industry requires a fully integrated platform, and no one can execute that better than Merchants Capital,” Sharp said. The tax credit syndication platform has already closed its first fund, a unique project that allowed Merchants Capital to partner with Merchants Bank and four other community banks to provide $22 million in equity to support affordable housing in the state of Indiana. The fund’s investment supported seven affordable housing projects in Indianapolis, Gary and South Bend, totaling more than 1,100 units. Merchants Capital also completed the debt financing for all seven properties. “Closing our first fund was a huge milestone and proof of concept. This collaboration aligned the interests of the property owners, syndicator, investors and debt servicers for a long-term partnership,” said Sharp. “It was rewarding to partner with five institutional investors to make a difference for the local areas in which we live and work, in the state where we are headquartered as a company,” said Michael F. Petrie, Merchants Bancorp Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO. “We are always happy to make a difference for families in our communities.” To learn more about the new platform, visit www.merchantscapital.com/tax-credit-equity. To learn more about Merchants Capital and its services, visit www.merchantscapital.com or find Merchants Capital on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
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Merchants Capital Enters Tax Credit Equity Market with Launch of Syndication Platform, Closes First Fund