Today’s news:

Ready to build - Financing secured for 80 DeKalb Ave.

Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) has closed on financing for a 335,000-square-foot building at 80 DeKalb Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn.

The Costas Kondylis-designed building is the first residential tower constructed by FCRC in Brooklyn. Situated on DeKalb Avenue between Hudson Avenue and Rockwell Place, and bordering the BAM Cultural District, the 34-story tower will include 73 affordable and 292 market-rate rental units, making it the first 80/20 development in Brooklyn financed with bonds issued by the New York State Housing Finance Agency.

Unlike most 80/20 developments, 80 DeKalb will remain affordable for 99 years. For the initial 35 years, 62 affordable units will be made available for households earning up to 50% of the area median income (AMI) and 11 units for households with incomes up to 40% of AMI. For the remaining years, all of the affordable units will be made available for households earning up to 90% of AMI.

“We’re very excited about 80 DeKalb,” said Bruce Ratner, chairman and CEO of FCRC. “It is a magnificent building at a great location that will provide both affordable and market-rate homes. We believe, too, that this is positive development during a tough market and points to the ongoing attraction of Brooklyn as a place to live and work.”

Ratner noted as well that with 80 DeKalb, FCRC has closed on financing for three projects within the past year, totaling more than $1.5 billion in construction loans.

The New York State Housing Finance Agency selected 80 DeKalb to receive $109.5 million in tax-exempt bonds and $27.5 million in taxable bonds. The lending institutions involved in the transaction were Wachovia Bank, NA, and Helaba (both co-agents providing the credit enhancement to the $137 million in bonds issued by HFA), as well as the National Electrical Benefit Fund, which provided a $10 million mezzanine loan and $20 million of credit enhancement.

As part of its ongoing commitment to strengthen minority- and women-owned (M/WBE) businesses, FCRC has already awarded 19% of the project’s contracts to M/WBE firms. In addition, FCRC projects that 30% of the construction workforce will be made up of minority workers and 10% of women workers. Like all FCRC developments, 80 DeKalb will be built entirely with union labor.

The building, designed to achieve LEED Certification, is expected to meet or exceed the sustainable design measures set forth by the US Green Building Council. Eighty (80) DeKalb’s “green” features include improved indoor air quality through the use of low or no volatile organic compound (VOC) emitting materials, water reduction by means of low-flow fixtures and diverting waste from landfills by recycling over 75% of construction waste and using recycled materials with recycled content.

The building is expected to open for leasing during the summer of 2009.

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