September 20, 2012

Washington is Building into a Stronger Economy

As I have written before, it will be small businesses that will be the engine for economic recovery.  Here in the Washington area, that includes a lot of real estate developers.

Have you noticed more and more construction activity lately?  I have.  And I’m proud that EagleBank has played a starring role.

Drive down Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, and see Akridge’s new speculative building.  Once a GSA outpost, 7550 Wisconsin Avenue will be 110,000 square feet of brand new space.  The skin is being finished and leasing activity is strong.  Expect to see it ready for occupancy before the end of the year.  It’s a great building with a great sponsor in a great location.

The Shaw area in the District has seen healthy construction lately.  An exciting project is Progression Place.  It’s rather unique.  Funded in part utilizing New Markets Tax Credits, the project will have the United Negro College Fund occupying the first four floors of the building.  Above it, EagleBank is the lender as floors 5-8 are being built out for office space for corporate tenants.  The location is great.  It’s right next to the newly restored Howard Theatre (for which EagleBank was the project lender).

And it’s right across the street from the Wonder Bread project, being developed at 641 S Street, NW.  Douglas Development is developing this boutique office project of approximately 84,000 square feet.  EagleBank is the construction lender, injecting over $21 million.

But wait.  There’s more.  Down near Nationals Park, Forest City is redeveloping multiple buildings at The Yards.  The Boilermaker Shops are another example of New Markets Tax Credits helping to infuse equity into a project.  EagleBank made a $11.7 million construction loan.  The project will include a brewpub, bakery, restaurants and several non-food retailers.  The latest project at the site is the Lumber Shed.  It’s a mixed use project, combining retail with office.  It will receive $8.4 million in EagleBank construction funds.

And in DC’s Petworth area, EagleBank is behind two new projects.  Duball Petworth LLC is redeveloping a Safeway one block from the Metro station into a mixed-use project that will include Safeway and about 218 multifamily units; the residential component will utilize $35 million in construction funds from us.  We’ll be at next month’s ground breaking. Also across the street from the Petworth Metro, Donatelli Development and McCullough Construction recently completed construction and lease-up of another multifamily rental project, this one with 49 units at 3801 Georgia Avenue, NW.

We’re also active with single family homebuilding, all along the price spectrum.  Along MacArthur Boulevard in the Palisades neighborhood, we’re financing 34 townhouses.  And in the heart of Georgetown, there’s Wormley Row, on Prospect Street – five ultra luxury towns.

In Loudoun County, VA, Evergreene Homes is building residential over retail in a mixed-use “live/work” project called the Promenade, located in Lansdowne Town Center; half the units are already sold and settled.  And throughout the metropolitan area, homebuilders are building subdivisions and one-offs utilizing our acquisition, development and construction loans.

Although many of the projects I write about in today’s post are large in size, we routinely fund small development deals, whether they be office, retail, multifamily or single family homes. In fact, our average commercial real estate loan is $1.7 million.

This is how we build a strong economy.  Unlike many a bank, EagleBank has continued to lend.  Our underwriting is deep and prudent with one of the lowest charge-off ratios throughout the country.  But we understand real estate and this market … so we haven’t shied away from good projects with good borrowers.

And we don’t have a “one size fits all” approach to lending.  Tell us what you need.  Let us brainstorm together on the capital stack.  We buy tax credits on local projects.  Eagle Commercial Ventures makes mezzanine loans.  Have a project?  Have an idea?  Our lenders will sit down with you and help think it through.