Investor sees potential in center that was one of St. Louis’ most delinquent properties

Village Square Center in Hazelwood spans nearly 22 acres, is about 40 percent occupied and was last renovated in 2006.

Appraised for $4.2 million and owing more than $18 million on its mortgage, the center was named one of St. Louis’ most delinquent properties at the end of last year by data analytics firm Trepp.

And for Somera Road Inc. the dilapidated mixed-use development ticked all of its boxes.

The New York-based commercial estate investment firm targets value-add, opportunistic acquisitions. Over the past three years, Somera Road has invested nearly $1 billion in 9.5 million square feet across the U.S., including in Kansas City, Indianapolis and Memphis. Property types under Somera range from industrial to student housing, said founder and Managing Principal Ian Ross.

Of particular interest are properties distressed due to bankruptcy, partnership disputes, and in the case of Village Square Center, loan defaults.

“We take a very active asset management approach to turn the lights back on,” Ross told the Business Journal.

Built in 1965 as a retail destination for north St. Louis County, Village Square was converted into an office park in 1998. Cash flow issues led the loan to be transferred to a special servicer in 2010 and a foreclosure followed in 2012. The property’s appraised value fell 84 percent over a 12-year period to $4.2 million at its most recent appraisal in May 2018, according to Trepp. (Several free-standing buildings at Village Square are not part of the loan’s collateral, Trepp added.)

Its position along one of the most traveled corridors in the region at Lindbergh Boulevard and Interstate 270, proximity to office development near St. Louis Lambert International Airport and such long-term tenants Convergys Corp. and Concentra Health made Village Square the right opportunity, Ross said.

Somera Road bought the property at auction for an undisclosed price and closed on the deal in mid-December.

“The optionality with regards to its existing bones, as well as the magnitude of the physical dirt, provides a lot of options,” Ross said.

Somera is working with the city of Hazelwood, which commissioned a market study in 2016, on the best options for redevelopment. The firm’s managing director, Fergus Campbell, and senior associate, Michael Ervolina, met with City Manager Matt Zimmerman and Community & Economic Development Coordinator Becky Ahlvin as recently as last week. Somera has also met with architects and brokers from such firms as CBRE, Colliers, Balke Brown Transwestern and L3 Corp.

It’s early to project when residents and commuters could see progress at Village Square, Ross said, but he added that “we want to embrace what’s good about the property.”

“It has excellent tenants already. We want to make it an even better working environment.”

By Steph Kukuljan – Reporter, St. Louis Business Journal Jan 29, 2019, 2:24pm CST

Original Post: https://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/news/2019/01/29/investor-sees-potential-in-center-that-was-one-of.html

City Center Square’s new owners secure $60M for renovations

A substantial renovation will be coming to City Center Square after Somera Road Inc. bought the building in mid-January for an undisclosed amount.

Dallas-based Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP said in a release Tuesday that the company secured $60.2 million in acquisition bridge financing on behalf of Somera Road.

According to the release, Somera will use proceeds from the loan “to renovate, rebrand and reposition the property as the premier downtown office tower in Kansas City.”

Located at 11th and Main streets, the 30-story, 657,070 square-foot building is home to the Kansas City Business Journal, Pinsight Media + and Alight Analytics. Its market value last year was $17.37 million, according to Jackson County property records.

The building’s occupancy rate is 50 percent.

The renovation will include a “state-of-the-art fitness center and tenant lounge, numerous in-house dining options, a fully-activated lobby, a hospitality center, a conferencing center and a revival of the property’s iconic lightwell,” the HFF release said. “Furthermore, Somera Road intends to activate the exterior with retail terraces and public seating.”

HFF Director Leon McBroom and Senior Managing Director Mark Katz represented the borrower.

Representatives from HFF and Somera Road could not be reached for comment before publication.

By Miranda Davis – Staff Writer, Kansas City Business Journal

Original Post: https://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2019/01/29/city-center-square-somera-road-renovations-hff.html

TPG Lends $60M for Downtown Kansas City Office Tower Acquisition

TPG Real Estate Finance Trust has provided $60.2 million to Somera Road to finance the acquisition of 30-story office tower in Kansas City, Mo.’s financial district, according to HFF, which arranged the debt.

The floating-rate bridge debt helped facilitate Somera’s off-market acquisition of Kansas City’s City Center Square building, a 657,070-square-foot office tower at 1100 Main Street.

Leon McBroom and Mark Katz comprised the HFF debt placement team that represented Somera Road.

“This was a highly stressful closing that bridged the holidays and the new year – the teams were incredibly responsive and professional, working around the clock to get this deal over the finish line,” Ian Ross, a principal at Somera Road, said in a prepared statement. “We have been a long-time believer in continued growth of the downtown [Kansas City] market and we believe the timing and the supply and demand dynamics are just right to bring this asset back to Class A status.”

Specifically, the debt proceeds will finance renovation, rebranding and repositioning efforts aimed to make the asset the “premier downtown office tower” in the city, according to information from HFF.

The additions will include a fitness center and tenant lounge, dining options, a renovated lobby, a hospitality center and a conferencing center. Somera will also add retail terraces and public seating to the property’s exterior.

A spokeswoman for TPG RE Finance Trust told Commercial Observer in a statement that while the firm typically targets larger loans in primary markets, it looks to provide this type of transitional financing in secondary markets to strong sponsors.

Built in 1979 and designed by , the building encompassing an entire city block and two-acre lot and has a Kansas City streetcar stop located outside the entrance to the property. The tower is home to the Kansas City Business Journal, law firm Dollar Burns & Becker, data advertising firm Pinsight Media, and marketing analytics firm Alight Analytics. There’s also a U.S. Post Office and a Country Club Bank on-site. Colliers International Senior Vice President Phil James handles leasing at the property.

In February 2018, Commercial Observer reported that City Center Square backed the second-largest loan ($32.5 million) in Värde Partners’ first ever collateralized loan obligation (CLO) transaction, known as VMC 2018-FL1. At the time of securitization, the asset was only 52 percent leased, with 70 tenants, making it one of the riskier assets in the $368 million pool.

In the deal, which was rated by Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA), the CLO’s KLTV—a loan-to-value-like indicator derived from KBRA’s cash-flow analysis—was at 128.3 percent, which was riskier than any CLO transaction the agency had rated the previous year in 2017.

BY MACK BURKE JANUARY 29, 2019 3:45 PM

Original post: https://commercialobserver.com/2019/01/tpg-lends-60m-for-downtown-kansas-city-office-tower- acquisition/